Cataracts Austin | Cataracts after Surgery? | Westlake Eye

Can You Get Cataracts After You Have Cataract Surgery?

Older couple laughing after cataract surgery

Cataracts affect the lenses of the eyes. They occur when proteins in the lens clump together. Over time, the proteins grow bigger until they are significant enough to block out light.

Getting cataract surgery involves removing the cataract and the lens of the eye. The good news about the surgery is that it’s safe and reliable as a medical procedure.

But can you get cataracts after you have cataract surgery? Keep reading to learn more!

Cataract Surgery Basics

To remove and replace the lens, the surgeon makes a small incision in the cornea. They then create and open a flap.

This allows the surgeon to access the inside of the eye through the pupil. But the lens is too big to safely come through the pupil in one piece.

Instead, it’s broken into smaller pieces. This is usually done thanks to a process called phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification emits ultrasonic waves at a high enough frequency to break apart the lens.

After extracting all pieces of the lens, a new lens takes its place. These artificial lenses are called intraocular lenses and there are several different kinds.

Standard IOLs will give you basic, functional sight, but only at one set distance. If you choose the standard option, you will need to use glasses or contacts to make up for the lost vision.

There are also a few different kinds of premium IOLs available. Premium IOLs can correct for both near and far vision, and can even correct astigmatism.

Premium IOLs are more expensive. The advantage and bonus of them are that wearers are no longer dependent on glasses anymore. This makes them quite popular for those that can afford the premium option.

Secondary Cataracts and Capsulotomy

Cataracts cannot “grow back” in the traditional sense, as there is no lens for them to grow inside. But about half of cataract patients may develop a secondary cataract from surgery.

This opacification does not occur in the new lens, but forms in the membrane that holds the lens in place. This can take months to form. It generally happens much more swiftly than normal cataract development.

The surgery to fix a secondary cataract is a YAG laser capsulotomy. While it is different from removing primary cataracts, it is still a very low-risk surgery.

First, the pupil is dilated with special eye drops. Then, the surgeon will aim a laser at the capsule membrane that has become cloudy.

The laser is then used to cut a small opening. The small hole allows light to pass through the IOL directly onto the retina. This is what restores sight.

Both primary cataract surgery and capsulotomies require you to go through a period of recovery. Recovering from a capsulotomy is much less restrictive and much faster as there’s no incision made in the cornea.

Had cataract surgery and think you may have a secondary cataract? Schedule an appointment at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX to discuss your options with one of our doctors!

If you had cataract surgery and are now suffering from cloudy vision, you may need a YAG laser capsulotomy to achieve clear vision.