There is a common notion that cataracts can “grow back” after having them removed. But this is a misconception that may come from a lack of understanding about the procedure.
Keep reading to learn more about cataracts and why cataract surgery is a permanent procedure!
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
There is no way to get rid of a cataract by itself. A cataract grows inside of the lens. As a cataract grows, it spreads through the lens.
This eventually leads to the lens clouding over with broken-down proteins. To fix the problem of cataracts, the entire lens of the eye has to be removed during cataract surgery.
During cataract surgery, you will receive special numbing eye drops. A hole is then cut into the cornea.
The top of the hole is left attached like a flap so that it’s easily closed after the surgeon has finished. The surgeon will then use a laser or a high-frequency ultrasonic device to emulsify the lens of the eye.
This breaks the lens into small pieces that can be safely extracted through the hole. An artificial lens or IOL replaces where the natural lens was in the empty socket.
After securing and adjusting the flap, it is then closed. The corneal tissue will attach back to itself over the course of several weeks. Full healing could take several months depending on the patient.
Choosing an IOL
Part of getting ready for cataract surgery is choosing an IOL, as they come in a variety of options. The standard IOL choice offers vision on a budget but only allows you to see at one distance.
This means you will need to use glasses or contacts to make up for the lost vision. There are also premium IOLs like multifocal or accommodating IOLs.
WIth these IOLs, you can see at near and far distances. How they do this is different. Premium IOLs can even correct your vision beyond what it has been your entire life! If you have astigmatism, toric IOLs may be able to help you.
You can discuss your IOL options and figure out what is best for you at a cataract screening. During a cataract screening, your eye doctor will recommend what IOL they think is best for you.
Since there is no natural lens tissue left after cataract surgery, cataracts cannot grow back. But cataracts do not only grow inside of the lens.
The membrane that actually holds the lens may begin to cloud over, causing vision loss. In fact, this is a possible side effect of cataract surgery and it is called a secondary cataract.
Secondary cataracts are treatable with another surgery called a YAG laser capsulotomy. During this procedure, a small hole is simply poked through the membrane with a laser.
This allows enough light to get through to the retina. With a YAG laser capsulotomy, enough membrane is left to hold the IOL in place.
Wondering if you may need cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Pinke Eye Center in Shelton, CT now! Dr. Pinke will help you understand every aspect of cataract surgery from start to finish.