Posted by: Associates in Ophthalmology (NJ) in Cataracts

man wearing glasses while sitting on the couch and reading a book

Even though cataract surgery is a safe procedure, it’s not one that most people look forward to. Even fewer would ever want to have it again.

This makes the question in the title understandable, and the answer may surprise you. Keep reading to find out if when you have cataract surgery your cataracts can come back!

The Answer is: Not Really

To understand this vague response, you have to understand what cataracts are and what it takes to have them removed. Cataracts develop in the lens of the eye.

They are not so much a “thing” that grows on the lens. Instead, they are part of the lens itself. Essentially, proteins that exist inside of the lens in an orderly fashion begin to break down and clump together.

This can happen as the result of injury, health conditions, or prolonged exposure to sunlight. For most people, this happens as a result of aging.

What are Cataracts?

As these clumps get larger, they get darker. As they become darker, they let less and less light into the eye. Without light being let into the eye, vision becomes more and more difficult.

Over time, they can mature enough to completely stop light from entering the eye. If cataracts are not caught, they can lead to total blindness.

While cataracts cannot be reversed or halted, removing them is pretty straightforward. Since the cataracts are part of the lens of the eye, the entire lens is removed.

This is done during cataract surgery. It involves creating a small incision in the clear tissue at the front of your eye, called the cornea.

The surgeon then uses a special instrument or laser to break the lens apart inside the eye. They then remove the pieces using carefully applied suction.

You still need a lens to see, so the surgeon inserts a preselected device called an intraocular lens. This artificial lens acts how your natural lens once did.

The advantage of this is that your artificial lens (or an IOL) will provide you with clear vision. It can also give you some of the best vision you’ve ever experienced.

You can also opt for the less expensive option that gives you functional sight, but you will need glasses afterward.

Cataracts After Cataracts?

When you have cataract surgery, you aren’t supposed to have cataracts again. So how can you have a cataract after having cataract surgery?

Since your natural lens is completely removed during the surgery, there are no proteins to turn into cataracts. The thing is, you can’t have an actual cataract since cataracts cannot develop again.

But one of the side effects you could experience after cataract surgery is a secondary cataract. This happens when the membrane that holds the lens is damaged and begins to become more opaque.

Fixing a secondary cataract is even simpler than normal cataract surgery. The procedure is called a YAG capsulotomy.

A surgeon simply creates a very small hole in the membrane holding the cataract so that light can pass through uninterrupted.

Think that you may have cataracts? Find out for sure by scheduling a cataract screening at Associates in Ophthalmology in Livingston, NJ. The sooner you know what you’re dealing with, the better!