Posterior Capsule Opacification | The “After Cataract”

Posterior Capsule Opacification | BCEYE | Nd:YAG Laser CapsulotomyPosterior capsule opacification (PCO) is the most common complication of cataract surgery.   It is actually not a true complication as it is almost always expected to occur.

Posterior capsule opacification usually occurs within 10 years of having cataract surgery.  It is more common in younger individuals and slightly less common in older patients.

Secondary or “After Cataract”

Some people may refer to PCO as a “secondary cataract” or “after cataract.”  Both are technically not correct because once a cataract has been removed it can not grow back.

Your cataract has two parts: the inner contents of the lens and the lens capsule – the thin outside coating of the cataract.   The inner contents of the lens is the portion of the cataract which gets cloudy while the lens capsule is clear.

During cataract surgery, the interior part of the lens is removed.  The intraocular lens implant is actually placed inside the remaining lens capsule of the natural lens.  With time, this outer coating gets cloudy causing blurry vision, glare and other symptoms similar to your original cataract.

Lens and M & M Candy

Think of your cataract as an M&M.  The outer candy coating is the lens capsule and the inner chocolate is the cloudy cataract material.

During your cataract surgery, we create an opening on one side of the candy coating (lens capsule) allowing us to remove the inner chocolate (cataract).  An intraocular lens is then placed inside the candy coating.

With time the candy coating on the other side can become cloudy.

Nd: Yag Laser | Posterior Capsulotomy

Cloudy Posterior Capsule | Before Yag Laser BCEYE

Before Nd: Yag Laser

After Nd: Yag Laser

After Nd: Yag Laser

The best way to treat posterior capsule opacification is with the Nd:Yag laser.  This is a non-invasive way to clear the hazy posterior capsule.  The laser will create a small hole in the center of the posterior capsule clearing a pathway for you to see again.

The procedure is performed in the office setting.  The Nd: Yag laser is standard equipment in most ophthalmic offices or surgical centers.

Other articles you may enjoy about your cataract surgery:

We look forward to seeing you.

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director

Burlington County Eye Physicians
Eye Professionals, LLC (Millville, NJ)
Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Bucks County (Langhorne, PA)