What Is A Secondary Cataract? Symptoms & YAG Laser Treatment

There are various forms of eye disorders. Cataract is one of the commonest eye disorders to cause blurring and distortion of vision. It is a soft gelatinous mass in the lens capsule. Usually normal cataract develops with growing age. It usually occurs after the age of 50. However, there are other forms of cataract that may develop early such as congenital cataract or traumatic cataract.

The only reliable and surest treatment is surgical removal of cataract after its formation. However, at least 10 to 20 percent of patients after extraction of cataract may experience haziness and blurring. It may occur many years after cataract removal.

Once removed cataract cannot develop again. But sometimes the cell of original cataract can grow and form thin film in the posterior capsule of implanted lens. As time passes, the film becomes thick compromising clear vision. This blurring and haziness post cataract surgery is called secondary cataract or posterior capsule opacity.

Secondary cataract is cured with YAG laser treatment. The procedure is simple, painless and quick. After laser treatment patient experiences improvement in vision within few days.

Symptoms Of Secondary Cataract

Often the symptoms of secondary cataract can impair patients function in his daily living.

It may make his routine task more difficult.

  • The first symptom that presents with is cloudiness in his vision. Patient complains that he is not able to see clearly even after he cleans his glasses frequently.
  • Patient has altered visual acuity. He finds difficulty in reading fine print which he was able to read clearly after cataract surgery. He feels as if something is coming in between his eyesight.
  • He has difficulty in seeing things at night. He finds it difficult to drive at night as he is not able to bear the glare of light. He sees halos around the light and other bright objects in night. Many times he complains of double vision.
  • Often old people feel depressed due to distortion of vision as their independence is compromised and they have to rely more on others due to secondary cataract.

YAG Laser Treatment For Secondary Cataract

Secondary cataract or posterior capsule opacity although discomforting for the patient, is treatable without pain. Besides being painless, the prognosis is good and patient is able to see clearly within few days after the treatment.

Secondary cataract is treated with YAG laser therapy. In medical terminology the procedure is called YAG laser capsulotomy. YAG is a short term used for yttrium aluminum garnet. It is the element used for laser beam. The procedure does not require any incision or even physical connection with the eye.

The surgeon focuses laser on the eye at the back of capsule that holds the implanted lens. The laser energy released from the machine makes tiny hole in the posterior capsule. Light passes through the opening into the posterior chamber of the eye, which consists of retina and vitreous and optic nerve. Vision is completely restored after the laser procedure within few days.

The treatment is very short, quick, and painless; however it requires precision focusing of the laser on the posterior of the capsule which every eye surgeon is capable of doing. The procedure takes five minutes. Rarely there are any post therapy complications.