Approximately 20% of patients will develop haze of a membrane behind the intraocular lens (IOL) implant following cataract surgery, which results in diminished vision. The vision may be blurred, hazy, or is associated with significant glare and loss of visual acuity. This condition, known as posterior capsule opacity, is sometimes referred to as “secondary cataract.” Cataracts, however, never recur following cataract surgery.
Posterior capsule opacity may be thought of as a scarring process in the capsule or membrane, which contained the natural lens (cataract) of the eye. The condition of posterior capsule opacity is not preventable, but fortunately, it is treatable and nearly always restores or improves vision.
Posterior capsule opacity may be treated with an in-office or outpatient minor laser procedure known as a YAG laser capsulotomy. In this procedure, a laser is used to remove the hazy capsule situated behind the IOL implant.
This usually requires dilation of the eye prior to the procedure. The procedure takes only a few minutes, is entirely painless, and is not associated with any discomfort.
Following a YAG laser capsulotomy procedure, patients may resume normal activities immediately. Most patients may expect their vision to improve within a day following the procedure. As with any eye procedure, patients should contact their EyeMD immediately if visual acuity worsens or fails to improve. Patients should anticipate some “floaters” following this procedure, however, these will likely resolve within a few week's time.