Secondary Cataract after Cataract Surgery - SightMD Skip to main content

February 09, 2022

Secondary Cataract after Cataract Surgery

Close up of eyeball with circular graphics over it.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common and most successful surgeries performed. While the risk rate of this surgery is very low, there is a very common thing that can happen in up to 8% of patients, called Posterior Capsular Opacification or PCO. PCO can also be referred to as a secondary cataract, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. Once a cataract is taken out of your eye, you cannot get one in the same eye again.

The first thing to know is that when cataract surgery is done, most people will also receive a replacement lens implant in their eye. This new lens is placed into the natural capsule of the eye that was originally holding the cataract. PCO is a whitening or haziness of the capsule that is holding the new lens implant in the eye (see pictures below).

Luckily, there is a very low-risk treatment for PCO, called a Yag Laser Capsulotomy. This can be done in the clinic or in a room in the surgery center without any downtime or fasting. The procedure takes less than 5 minutes to perform and, many times, it’s less than 30 seconds! Most patients will go back to the vision they had right after cataract surgery.

If you’ve had cataract surgery before, and now it’s starting to seem like your vision looks as if you have a cataract again, you may have PCO. Go see an ophthalmologist and see if this type of laser is an option for you.