Can Cataracts Grow Back After Removal?

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Cataract surgery is a very common procedure that usually takes ten minutes or less and has a reasonable recovery time.  Some of our cataract patients ask us if cataracts can grow back after surgery. Because cataract surgery completely removes your natural lens, it is actually impossible for cataracts to grow back after surgery.  However, you should be aware of a condition known as “secondary cataract” or “after-cataract” that affects up to 50% of patients following cataract removal. It is important to note that most patients experience little to no side effects of cataract surgery. If you have questions about cataract surgery, contact our experts here at Louisiana Eye & Laser Center. For more information about cataracts and cataract surgery, read on below. 

What is a cataract?

A cataract is an opacification (clouding) of the eye’s natural lens, which typically occurs in patients over the age of 55.  Along with age and previous eye injuries, smoking and significant sun exposure can increase an individual’s chances of having cataracts.  If you suffer from cataracts, you may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, glare, and difficulty reading. In most cases, cataracts progress very slowly and surgery is not immediately necessary.  Unfortunately, there is no way of stopping the progression of cataracts and surgery is currently the only form of treatment. If you think you may have cataracts or are experiencing problems with your vision, please contact our team and schedule an appointment with one of our Louisiana eye doctors.

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How does surgery treat cataracts?

Cataract surgery removes the clouded natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens, called an Intraocular Lens (IOL).  The IOL is a clear, plastic implant that contains focusing power to replace that of the natural lens of the eye.  It is a permanent replacement for the natural lens that can actually improve vision. The IOL requires no special care and cataracts cannot grow on these artificial lenses.  If surgery is needed to treat both eyes, your surgeries will likely be separated, allowing the first eye to heal before the second procedure takes place.

The recovery process varies from patient to patient, but most people heal within a few weeks.  Our doctor may schedule follow-up visits as necessary for up to 6 months after surgery. Depending on the type of IOL your doctor uses, you may need a prescription for reading or close work.  Regular eye and vision check ups are still necessary to monitor your eye health.

Secondary Cataracts

Sometimes patients may feel like a cataract is returning, even months or years after cataract surgery.  Because the natural lens has been removed, it is impossible for a cataract to grow back. However, many patients experience a condition known as secondary cataracts.  Secondary cataracts is a clouding of the eye caused by scar tissue on the back of the implanted lens. Fortunately, secondary cataracts can be corrected by a quick visit to your eye doctor.  Treatment involves a painless, outpatient procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy, that typically takes about five minutes.  Most patients immediately experience clearer vision, while some people may take a few days to feel the effects.  

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Think You Have Secondary Cataracts?

LA Eye and Laser is here to help!  Our eye care professionals use the latest and safest technology for treating secondary cataracts.  If you have had cataract surgery and think you may have secondary cataracts, come visit one of our many locations across the state.  With over 40 years of experience, our excellent staff can help restore your vision quickly and painlessly! Call our team or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.