What is Secondary Cataract Surgery?

During cataract surgery, the cloudy, damaged lens is removed from the eye and replaced with a synthetic lens. This lens (called an intraocular lens implant) is held in place by a thin membrane inside the eye. In some cases, months or years after cataract surgery, scar tissue slowly forms and covers this membrane, making vision cloudy again. This is called posterior capsule opacity (PCO). Secondary cataract surgery is a procedure performed to treat PCO and restore vision.

The symptoms of posterior capsule opacity are oddly similar to those of cataracts, including blurry vision, glare, or halos when looking at bright light. However, PCO is a different condition, and secondary cataract surgery is not used to treat cataracts.

During secondary cataract surgery, an ophthalmologist cuts a hole (most often using a laser) through the clouded membrane. This allows light to pass clearly through the lens again, making it possible to see clearly. The painless procedure only takes a few minutes, and is usually performed right in the office. Afterwards, you may notice a difference in your vision right away. You may be given drops to put in your eyes to reduce pain and speed healing.

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