In cataract surgery the cloudy lens inside the eye (the cataract) is removed. A thin membrane behind the cataract, known as the posterior capsule, is left behind to help hold the artificial intraocular lens implant in position. This posterior capsule may become cloudy in about 10% of people following cataract surgery. This is known as posterior capsule opacity (PCO).
In a few people PCO is present right from the time of the cataract surgery, depending on the type and duration of the cataract. More often, PCO develops gradually 1-2 years after surgery, as part of the healing process of the eye. PCO is more common in younger people who have had cataract surgery.
PCO causes blurring of vision, and sometimes glare or double vision. Although a cataract can not recur after cataract surgery, the symptoms of PCO may be similar to those experienced prior to cataract surgery.
PCO is treated by a minor laser procedure known as laser capsulotomy. Your surgeon uses a YAG laser to make a small hole in the central part of the posterior capsule, behind the intraocular lens and pupil. It is performed in the consulting room, is painless and only takes a few minutes.
Many people notice an immediate improvement in their vision after laser capsulotomy. Normal activities can be resumed straight away following the procedure, although you should check with your surgeon regarding driving.
Laser capsulotomy is a commonly performed procedure with an extremely high success rate, due to the modern methods and latest technology used by Eye Doctors. Many people notice small spots floating in their vision for a week or two afterwards. Like any procedure there is a risk of complications that your surgeon will discuss with you, however serious side effects are rare.
Affiliated provider benefit to Posterior Capsule Opacity patients
- no need for prior approval
- no money up front for laser treatment
- Southern Cross pays Eye Doctors directly