Cataract surgery improves your vision by removing the lens and replacing it with an IOL. But it’s not always a one-and-done deal.
While it’s true that cataracts don’t “grow back” over time, you may develop a secondary cataract after the surgery. Keep reading to learn more about secondary cataracts and other kinds of cataracts!
What Is A Secondary Cataract?
The name secondary cataract can be a little misleading. A secondary cataract develops in the membrane that supports your artificial lens.
It’s not an actual cataract! This membrane can become cloudy and begins to block vision. If this happens, it’s a process known as posterior capsular opacification.
Secondary cataracts are not immediately noticeable. In fact, it can take many months before its effects are evident.
There’s no way to determine whether you’ll develop a secondary cataract or not. As many as half of all cataract surgery patients experience posterior capsular opacification. Luckily, the treatment is even easier than the initial surgery, though it is different.
Removing a secondary cataract occurs during a process called YAG laser capsulotomy. It usually takes less than five minutes to perform and is an outpatient procedure.
You’ll be able to leave the same day! In YAG laser capsulotomy, a laser makes a small opening in the clouded membrane.
This allows light to pass through and creates vision. This is also done without disrupting the artificial lens.
Vision improves almost immediately for most patients. It may take a few days before your vision is at its best.
Other Kinds of Cataracts
Cataracts don’t only develop from old age or as a possible side effect of surgery. There are several other kinds of cataracts that can form for different reasons.
A traumatic cataract forms after sustaining an eye injury. Like a secondary cataract, it is not always immediate.
It can take several years to develop a traumatic cataract through a gradual process. This happens because physical trauma can disrupt the fibers in the lens.
Congenital cataracts are cataracts that affect children at birth. They can be caused by any number of reasons. This can include genetics, infection, problems with metabolism, and physical trauma.
They can also develop as a side effect to drugs taken during pregnancy. When to remove an infant’s cataracts is usually anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months old.
Exposure to certain kinds of radiation can also cause radiation cataracts. Exposure to UV rays from the sun have been known to speed up the cataract process.
This is why it is important to wear proper UV protected sunglasses outdoors. Sunglasses that are not 100% UV protected will only serve to do more harm than good to your eyes.
The best kind of defense against any kind of cataract is having regular eye exams with your eye doctor. If you have a cataract, this is the fastest way to know. If your cataract has impeded your vision, it may be time to consider cataract surgery as well.
Cataracts are impossible to deal with on your own. Schedule a cataract screening at Frantz Eyecare in Fort Myers, FL today!