WHAT IS A SECONDARY CATARACT? By Dr. Martha Jay, Ophthalmologist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
A common question from patients is, “Do cataracts come back?” The answer is yes and no. Once you have cataract surgery, you do not have to go back to the operating room at a later date to repeat the procedure. What can happen is that you may develop a secondary cataract. This is a clouding behind the implant and is easily treated with a quick laser procedure.
The lens in the eye is shaped like a tiny pillow, rounded on the edges and flattened on the front and back. It is covered with a thin membrane, measuring less than 5 microns thick. At the time of cataract surgery, we carefully remove a circular area from the front of this membrane and gently vacuum out your cloudy lens. We then use this remaining membrane, known as “the bag,” to support the plastic intraocular lens which allows you to see clearly after surgery.
In about 10% of cases, this membrane becomes cloudy over time and we call it a secondary cataract. It usually takes 2-3 years for this to happen and the symptoms are very similar to those noticed prior to the original surgery: blurred distance vision, glare and halos around lights.
As previously mentioned, the treatment is a quick laser. You wear street clothes and put your chin on something that looks just like what we use in the office during your eye exam. Afterwards there are no activity restrictions and the potential risk for complications is minimal. So if you start to notice that your vision has become blurred several years after cataract surgery, come in and we will determine if this is your problem. If so, clear vision is just a quick laser away.
Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist specializing in small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK Vision Correction. She practices at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.