Can a cataract return?

Your sight is one of the most precious things you have. It allows you to experience the world, look at those you love, and take in everything life has to offer. Unfortunately, as you age, your vision can often worsen.

Cataracts are one way in which this can occur. If you or a loved one has recently undergone surgery for cataracts, you may be wondering, can a cataract return? The short answer is no, but this question also requires a longer explanation.

If you’ve been asking yourself, “can cataracts come back?” this post will tell you what you need to know. Read on to learn more about what cataracts are and what you can do about this eye condition.

What Is a Cataract?

A cataract is a condition that affects the lens of the eye. The lens is the flexible tissue behind the iris and in front of the vitreous body (the gel between the lens and the retina). Cataracts cause patches of cloudiness to appear in the eye’s lens, making it difficult to see.

Cataracts occur for two main reasons: ageing or injury. In Australia, around half of people over 50 are affected, while most people over 80 will suffer from this condition. If a family member has a history of cataracts, you may also be more likely to develop it at a younger age.

Cataract Symptoms

You can look out for several symptoms if you fear you may be at risk of developing cataracts. For example, if your vision is blurred, you see double, or your eyes are more sensitive to glare, these could all be telltale signs. In addition, if you have trouble reading or seeing faces, this might also be a symptom of cataracts.

Treating a Cataract

If your cataract is not severe, getting new glasses or installing brighter lights can help. However, the only way to entirely remove cataracts is through cataract surgery.

In cataract surgery, the surgeon removes the cloudy lens. They then insert a new artificial lens in its place. The whole procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes and is performed with the patient under local anaesthetic.

Can Cataracts Return?

Cataracts cannot return after you’ve undergone surgery for them. However, in some cases, you may notice some cloudiness return over time. That will most often occur within 12 to 18 months of your initial surgery.

This returning cloudiness is something known as posterior lens capsule opacification. It’s a fairly commonly occurring issue. It affects around 20% of patients who undergo surgery for their cataracts.

If this does happen to you, you’ll be eligible for YAG laser capsulotomy. A YAG is a simple procedure involving a laser that should clear up any persisting cloudiness.

Can a Cataract Return After Surgery?

Can a cataract return? Thankfully, no. If you have had surgery to treat your cataracts, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they can’t come back.

However, you may still experience some cloudiness. If this does occur, you can book a consultation with us to guide you through what you may be able to do about it.

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A specialist ophthalmic micro surgeon, internationally trained retinal surgeon, medical retinal diseases specialist and cataract surgeon

Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO

Brisbane Eye Surgeon

With a career that spans over 15 years, I have mastered the ability to achieve results that help patients regain their confidence and youthful energy.

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