Can cataracts come back after surgery? Does cataract surgery last a lifetime? While these questions may seem odd to some, we get them or their equivalents rather frequently. Let’s take a few minutes to cover why cataract surgery is permanent and if there are other situations post-surgery that you’ll need to consider.
Can you have cataracts twice?
First things first, no. Your cataract cannot grow back because, during surgery, the lens upon which a cataract forms is removed. That being said, there is the chance that another “cataract-like” situation can occur. But before we can get into that, let’s quickly discuss how cataract surgery works so you can better understand why cataracts can’t grow back and how you could potentially find yourself in a different situation later down the line.
How does cataract surgery work?
There are two different types of cataract surgery, traditional and laser cataract surgery, with laser surgery being the safer of the two options. During the procedure, the cloudy lens is broken up and removed from the eye. Upon removal, an artificial lens is put in its place. The cataract surgery success rate — 98% — is very high. Cataract surgery works, and it works well. This success is due to the fact that the cataract is fully removed from your eye. It no longer exists, and it cannot grow back.
Learn more about the cataract surgery process by reading our articles: How Does Cataract Surgery Work? and How long do cataract lenses last?
What is a secondary cataract?
While your cataracts cannot come back after surgery, you can get what is called posterior capsular opacification (or PCO), also referred to as a secondary cataract. But if the answer to the question, “Can cataracts grow back after surgery?” is “No,” then how can you get a secondary cataract? Exactly what causes cloudiness in the eye after cataract surgery?
When your new lens is placed inside your eye during cataract surgery, it’s placed into the lens capsule. That artificial lens cannot grow a cataract; however, the capsule itself can become cloudy when epithelial cells grow and spread inside the capsule. The unwanted growth of these cells is what causes the hazy, blurry vision that replicates cataract-like symptoms.
Although they aren’t common, secondary cataracts can occur after surgery, and when they do, their symptoms can mimic a run-of-the-mill cataract. Secondary cataracts are the main reason why some people incorrectly call us asking, “Can cataracts come back after surgery?” because they assume that their cataract has, indeed, grown back.
Are you preparing for cataract surgery? Check out our guide on how to prepare for cataract surgery.
What are the symptoms of a secondary cataract?
If you’ve had cataract surgery, then you clearly know what it feels like to have a cataract. While a cataract is not the same thing as a secondary cataract, the experiences with both situations are very similar.
In particular, here’s what to be on the lookout for:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty identifying colors, objects, and contrasts
Are you having difficulty seeing things clearly? We’ve created a list of top answers to the question, “Why is my vision getting worse?”
How do you treat a secondary cataract?
If you do feel as if you’re experiencing symptoms of a secondary cataract, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Treating a secondary cataract is easy and fast. The process involves a small incision with a laser and then removal of the unwanted cell growth. After treatment, you should be able to see clearly once again, and the growth should not return.
Unlike cataract surgery recovery time, which in and of itself is minimal, the recovery time for a secondary cataract is next to nothing. You can almost always resume normal activities immediately upon leaving your doctor’s office.
You may experience slight discomfort (which can usually be alleviated with OTC pain medication), and with some patients, it might be recommended to avoid driving and overly bright lights for 24 hours. Eye drops may also be prescribed.
Check out the top signs of a cataract and learn more about when to schedule surgery.
Asking “Can cataracts come back after surgery?” because you’re experiencing a secondary cataract? Contact Eye Center of Texas.
Don’t allow a secondary cataract to lessen the positive impact of cataract surgery. Act now and get your vision back on track.
At Eye Center of Texas, we are home to some of the leading cataract surgeons in Houston. We’ve performed over 80,000 successful cataract surgeries, and we have the skill and experience you need to quickly eliminate the nuisance of a secondary cataract.
Don’t let secondary cataracts get in the way of your dream of clear vision. Call us at 713-797-1010 Contact us online today and request an appointment with one of our doctors.
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