By David A. Goldman MD –
Cataract surgery has come a long way over the past few decades. Hospital admissions with sandbags placed on either side of the head have become outpatient procedures with patients going out for lunch or dinner that same day. Intraocular lens technology has improved as well; with some patients no longer requiring glasses anymore. Some patients who had undergone surgery years ago lament that these lenses were not available then. However, just because a patient has already had cataract surgery does not mean their vision cannot be improved.
There can be many causes of blurred vision after cataract surgery, but some of them are very correctable. One example is posterior capsule opacification (PCO). Sometimes called a “secondary cataract” it is a form of scar tissue that forms behind the lens in the eye. A painless 30-second laser procedure can remove this scar tissue and improve vision in less than twenty-four hours.
Other patients may see well but only with their glasses on. Many times this is due to mild nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. Though many think of LASIK as a procedure for young people, LASIK can be performed on patients even after cataract surgery with excellent results. Other options may include using a piggyback lens (a second lens placed over the original lens used in cataract surgery) and limbal relaxing incisions (small slits placed in the peripheral cornea to decrease astigmatism).
While certain conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration cause loss of vision that cannot be recovered, prescription errors after cataract surgery can often be corrected with minimally invasive procedures. For those patients who underwent cataract surgery many years ago that wish they saw better without glasses, be sure to ask your ophthalmologist about options at your next visit.