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Ask Dr. Schauer ~ Can cataracts come back?

“My father is 83 and recently had cataract surgery. Now his eyesight is fine but he does still have to wear glasses. Is there a chance his cataracts will return?”

First, let’s review!

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a yellowing and/or thickening of the crystalline lens inside of the eye. The lens of the eye sits right behind the colored part of your eye (the iris). The lens structure normally is clear throughout life. It is what helps you focus to see near objects clearly (untilĀ after age 40…..)

It is normal that aging will cause the lens to get yellow and cloudy over time, and cause an age-related cataract. At some point, it will start to negatively affect vision. Colors will not be as bright as they used to be and vision will be blurry. This is the time to have a conversation with your optometrist about having the cataracts removed with surgery.

Can cataracts come back?

The good news is that cataract surgery is pretty much a one-time deal. Once the lens is removed during surgery, there is no possibility that a cataract can form again.

However, approximately 50% of the time, some patients can experience a slight secondary “cataract” months or years after cataract surgery, although it is not truly a cataract. This is a clouding of the capsule that was left behind for the implant to sit in. Fortunately, this secondary “cataract” is easily removed in a few seconds with a laser. Many patients refer to this procedure as a “touch up” after cataract surgery. This procedure is also a one-time deal. Once the capsule has been opened with the laser, it is not possible for haziness to return.

Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?

Some patients will still require the use of eyeglasses after cataract surgery. Most people will notice their vision is markedly better after cataract surgery and they may have a reduced eyeglass prescription. It depends on the individual person and depends on the implant chosen.

At Vision Source Mandan, our optometrists can answer any question you may have about cataract surgery.



Top image by Pixabay on Pexels (location) used under Creative Commons Zero (CCO) License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 11/16/2017.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.