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What is Posterior capsular thickening or “Secondary Cataract”?

This is a thickening of a normal part of your eye after successful cataract surgery

After cataract surgery where the cloudy lens has been removed and an intraocular lens (IOL) implant placed inside the eye, the natural lens capsule it sits on can thicken and become cloudy which will again interfere with your vision. This is sometimes known as an “after cataract” or “secondary cataract” to describe the posterior capsular opacity (PCO).

How common is Posterior capsular thickening?

Posterior capsule thickening can occur in up to 20% patients over weeks or months after cataract surgery. Usually, if you are going to get PCO it will have happened within two years of your cataract surgery, most commonly within the first six months after surgery.

The capsule becomes lightly scarred and wrinkles, causing blurred vision. You may notice this thickening if your vision becomes misty, you get glare in bright lights or from lights at night. Apart from affecting your vision, capsular thickening does not affect the rest of your eye or the long term good outcome of your cataract surgery.

Is posterior capsular thickening dangerous?

This is not something to be alarmed about as PCO is readily treated by laser at Clinica London as an outpatient (walk in and walk out) under topical anaesthetic eye drops.

What should I do if my vision drops after cataract surgery?

If you have had successful cataract surgery and then you start to notice your vision deteriorating, there are many possible causes, including thickening of your original posterior capsule which supports the implant. You should get an assessment by your cataract surgeon to confirm the diagnosis of PCO, exclude other causes of your vision blurring and advise you on YAG laser capsulotomy.

Mr Jaheed Khan

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Medical Retina & Cataract Surgeon

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Ms Laura Crawley

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Cataract & Glaucoma Specialist

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Mr Sajjad Ahmad

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Cornea & External Eye Diseases, Cataract & Refractive Surgery Specialist

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Ms Tessa Fayers

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Oculoplastic, Lacrimal and Cataract Specialist

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