It is also the most common complication from cataract surgery. The only treatment for cataracts is surgical intervention so for many people, the risk of PCO is unavoidable. In cataract surgery, the eyes natural lens must be removed from the eyes lens capsule and replaced by an artifical lens. This initially restores high visual quality but unfortunately, PCO develops in a small proportion of patients.
Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) can occur after cataract surgery and lens replacement. In both procedures the natural lens is removed from the lens capsule (think of it as a tiny bag in which the lens lives) and is replaced by a new, artificial lens. The specific way in which the surgeon carries this out is to open the front of the capsule (to remove the damaged lens and insert the artificial lens) but leave the back of the capsule intact. The back or ‘posterior’ of the capsule remains intact to support the new artificial lens.The clouding experienced in PCO occurs on the lens capsule.
In a small proportion of patients (at Laser Vision Scotland this is approximately 10%) a natural process of scarring can occur on the capsule after cataract / RLE surgery. Some of the outer cells of the old lens remnants make their way to the back part of the capsule where they start to grow. This causes the posterior section of the lens capsule to thicken, and become opaque. The opacification makes it harder for light to travel through to the retina at the back of the eye. As a result, eyesight becomes hazy or clouded, which results in blurred vision. Some people also have problems with bright lights and glare.
The effect can feel similar to the effect of having a cataract which is why the condition is known as a secondary cataract. However, it is important to remember that once a cataract has been removed it can not return.
The treatment for PCO is YAG Laser Capsulotomy. YAG Laser Capsulotomy is a quick, painless procedure that can be carried out in an outpatient clinic. Results are immediate and highly effective.
Contact Laser Vision Scotland to find out how we can help treat Posterior Capsule Opacification. Book an appointment to speak to Laser Vision Scotland about your best treatment options.