Posterior Capsule Opacification
The lens capsule is
the thin, elastic-like bag that holds the intraocular lens (IOL) in
position after cataract surgery. During the operation, the front
(anterior) portion of the lens capsule is carefully opened and the
cataract is removed. The IOL is inserted into the remaining (posterior)
portion of the capsule.
The remaining portion of the capsule becomes clouded in about 25% of
cataract surgery patients. When this occurs, patients experience
symptoms similar to those from the original cataract. That's why
posterior capsule opacification is also known as secondary cataract.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Gradual decrease of vision
• Blurred vision
• Glare from lights and sun
DETECTION AND DISAGNOSIS
The doctor can
diagnose posterior capsule opacification during a routine eye exam using
a slit lamp microscope. It is more easily detected if the pupil are
dilated. Potential acuity testing is often performed to determine the
expected improvement of vision.
A simple procedure
called a YAG posterior capsulotomy is performed to restore vision lost
from the clouded capsule. The YAG is a type of cold laser used to create
a small opening in the center of the capsule, allowing a clear area for
light to enter the eye. The procedure is painless, requires no
anesthesia, and has very little risk since no incision is required.
After the dilating drops wear off from the procedure, most patients
notice an immediate improvement in vision. The improvement each person
experiences is dependent on the extent of the capsular clouding and the
overall eye health.