Cataract “Regrowth”

This is an image of a middle aged lady who had previously undergone cataract surgery who consulted me because of hazy vision, reporting that she felt her cataract had “regrown”.
A cataract develops in the eye’s natural lens which is positioned behind the pupil. This lens has an outer capsule, similar to a small transparent “bag”, which contains the lens substance. A cataract forms when the lens substance becomes discoloured or milky.
During a cataract operation the surgeon makes an opening in the capsule and removes the lens substance. To restore the focus of the eye this substance is replaced with a plastic lens which is placed in the “bag”.
A normal type of cataract cannot “regrow” because the lens substance is removed during the operation. However, small cells which have been left behind during the operation frequently form opacities (dark or hazy spots) on that portion of the capsule or bag which is behind the pupil. This results in hazy vision, very similar to that which occurs when a cataract first develops. Fortunately, this can be easily and effectively treated by using a laser to remove the opaque portion of the bag as illustrated here.