What is a secondary cataract?
A secondary cataract is a posterior opacification. It’s also known as an after cataract. It is a cloud or film that develops behind the lens implant that was placed in your eye when the cataract was removed. When the cataract is removed, this film is crystal clear like Saran Wrap. Over time it becomes cloudy or hazy like wax paper resulting in blurred vision.
What symptoms would I have?
Most patients describe the same symptoms that they had their first cataract. Symptoms include: blurred vision, halos around lights and glare.
What caused this film to develop?
After successful cataract surgery, microscopic cells grow on the back surface of the lens implant. With time these cells can make the normally transparent membrane hazy. This cannot be prevented. It can develop within weeks or months or several years following surgery. It is not a complication of surgery.
What is the treatment for a Secondary Cataract?
A laser is used to make an opening in the cloudy membrane. The procedure is called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy.
Will it grow back?
Once an opening has been made with the YAG laser the film will not return.
Are there any risks?
As will all surgery, there are some risks involved. However, with the YAG laser capsulotomy, the risks are very small. The risks include but are not limited to: problems with the retina and increased eye pressure. We discuss this with you before surgery.
Is this laser treatment covered by insurance?
Yes. If indicated this is a covered procedure by insurance. Our staff can review any copays, deductible, or co-insurances that would be required.
Do I need to go to the operating room?
The treatment is done in the treatment room in the outpatient surgery center.
Will the procedure be painful?
For most patients the procedure is painless.
Will I need anesthesia?
Aside from dilating drops, there is no need for anesthesia, needles or injections.
Can I eat and drink before the procedure?
There are no restrictions on eating and drinking. You may take your medications as usual. There is no need to stop blood thinners or aspirin.
What else should I know about the treatment?
The procedure takes just a few minutes. However, expect to be at the surgery center for an hour and a half. Your eyes will be dilated. About twenty minutes after the procedure we will check the pressure in your eye.
Can I drive myself to surgery?
In many situations it is permissible for the patient to drive themselves to the procedure. Your vision will be blurry for a few hours afterward.
Will I have any restrictions after the laser?
You can resume normal activities as soon as the blurred vision has resolved.
Will I need a follow-up appointment?
We will check your eyes two weeks after the procedure. This is a dilated appointment. We will check your vision to see if your eyeglass prescription has changed.
Please let us know if you have additional questions. Our surgery schedulers can be reached at either office.