Can my cataract regrow?

We occasionally get this question from patients who have cataract surgery, which is when their cloudy natural lens is replaced with a new clear artificial lens. To best answer this question, we must understand anatomy. Both natural and clear artificial lenses are suspended in a capsule or bag-like structure. During surgery a small incision is made in the bag, and the cataract is removed. The new clear artificial lens is then inserted. Occasionally a few cells from the natural cloudy lens adhere to the capsule. The cells can effectively spread across the back of the capsule-creating smeared vision-known as a secondary membrane. This process is gradual usually starts 3-6 months after cataract surgery.

Fortunately, Dr. Ballitch can improve vision in a few minutes.  A laser is directed towards the back of the lens capsule, creating an opening. This allows light to pass through the lens but not the smeared part of the lens bag.  Below, side A is how the lens capsule appears with mild smearing. Side B shows an opening in the bag, allowing for improved vision.


So, a cataract doesn’t regrow; however, a thin haze from residual cells, after surgery, can gradually make vision blurry.

 

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Posted in: Cataract

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