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Consultant Ophthalmologist,
Cataract & Refractive Surgeon

BMedSci BM BS MRCS MRCSEd MRCOpth FRCOphth MMedLaw PgD Cataract & Refractive Surgery

Posterior Capsular Opacification

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What's going on?

When we remove a cataract, we leave the back capsule in place to support the new intraocular lens. In a proportion of patients, residual lens epithelial cells may grow across this posterior capsule, resulting in opacity and reduced vision. This process usually takes more than a year.

If I examine the patient what will I find?

If you look at the eye using the ophthalmoscope as a magnifying glass, you may see the cloudy posterior capsular opacification.

What if I've diagnosed it?

If a patient has had a cataract extraction with lens implant and then develops reduced vision, they may have posterior capsular opacification. Remember though that there are other causes of visual deterioration after cataract surgery, including AMD and vascular occlusions.

Late gradual deterioration in vision thought to be due to posterior capsular opacification can be referred as routine. The optician is usually very helpful in making the diagnosis.

What will the hospital do?

A YAG (yttrium aluminium garnet) laser may used to make a hole in the thickened, opaque capsule with a piece of equipment like a slit lamp to allow clear vision.

Problems that may arise, and how to deal with them

Vision should improve virtually immediately after YAG laser treatment, and patients should go back to their optician for further refraction after the treatment. Rarely after the procedure, the intraocular pressure goes up dramatically or the eyes become inflamed.

Recent treatment for Posterior Capsular Opacification - June 2017
Hi there, just a brief note to say how pleased I am with the service that you provided. I had cataract surgery in 2015 and after shortly afterwards my eyesight started to deteriorate, in one eye and then the other. Following several attempts to get to this corrected I had laser treatment for Posterior Capsular Opacification by Dr Alwitry.

He was very professional and I felt completely at ease during the treatment. My vision is massively improved. Just as he had predicted.

With much appreciation