Opacification of Posterior Capsule

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After cataract surgery, some patients develop opacification of the posterior capsule or after-cataract.

Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens from its cellophane-like membrane called the lens capsule and replaces with an artificial lens. With time, this membrane may become cloudy or wrinkled and caused blurred vision, as if the patient had a cataract all over again. If vision becomes worse after cataract surgery, it is important to consult the eye doctor. If a cloudy or wrinkled capsule is discovered, a posterior capsulotomy may be recommended when the patient is not able to see well enough to do the things they like or need to do.

Posterior Capsulotomy

This surgical procedure is sometimes necessary after cataract surgery when the posterior capsule gets cloudy. A posterior capsulotomy is a simple laser procedure that makes an opening in the back part of the capsule to restore normal vision.

A special laser is targeted at the back of the capsule to make a small opening. This technique is painless and only takes a few minutes. It is performed on an outpatient basis, often in the ophthalmologist's office. Anesthesia, if necessary is applied using eyedrops.

The patient should notice improved vision quickly, if there are no other problems with the eye. Unless the doctor advises otherwise, normal activities can usually be resumed immediately.

As with any surgical procedure, rare complications can occur, including:

  • detachment of the retina;
  • increased intraocular pressure;
  • dislocation of the intraocular lens through the posterior capsule opening;
  • inflammation in the eye, possibly requiring treatment with steroid eyedrops.