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Secondary Cataract (PCO)

Most people do not know that a secondary cataract is possible. In fact, this condition is  quite common and occurs in up to 40% of people after cataract surgery.

What is a secondary cataract?

To explain this concept, the anatomy of the eye must be discussed.

The cataract lens is supported inside the eye by a thin capsule much like the shrink wrap found at the grocery store. This “shrink wrap” around the cataract lens is called the LENS CAPSULE.

During cataract surgery, the cataract is removed from the LENS CAPSULE. The LENS CAPSULE is left behind to support the artificial lens. The artificial lens is supported and surrounded by the LENS CAPSULE. The LENS CAPSULE is natural human tissue and therefore, can create a type of “scar” in the eye that blocks the vision after cataract surgery.

Secondary cataracts can occur despite a perfect cataract surgery. In other words, getting a secondary cataract IS NOT a sign that something went wrong with the cataract surgery.

By using a special LASER, Dr. D removes the scarred part of the LENS CAPSULE, to clear up the vision. Once the LENS CAPSULE has been removed by the LASER, no other opacification can ever occur. In other words, there is no such thing as a third cataract.

What to expect during and after the laser procedure?

The procedure lasts about 3 minutes and is painless. Drops are given to numb the eye. The patient sits at the slit lamp, just like when being examined by Dr. D.  A special

LASER is guided by Dr. D to clear away the SECONDARY CATARACT. This is one of the safest procedures in medicine and it has a VERY LOW COMPLICATION RATE.

After the procedure, expect the following changes to your vision:

  • You may experience blurry vision immediately following the laser procedure, for at least 2–4 hours.

  • Possible BLURRED VISION for 1-5 DAYS.

  • Possible FLOATERS for 1 – 8 weeks.

  • Both blurred vision and floaters will pass.

The vision will clear slowly and improve to its maximum after about 2 weeks. After the procedure, the patient can go back to their normal routine the same day. There are no limitations after the surgery. Medications are very simple (1 drop of Lotemax four times a day for one week.)

The patient is rechecked at one week to make sure that there are no problems with lens movement or increased pressure in the eye. If everything is fine at the one week visit, all drops are stopped and the patient is finished with the procedure.


  • The procedure is quick (3 minutes) and painless

  • The procedure is very safe.

  • The procedure can be done in the office.

  • No limitations after the procedure

  • Patient may have blurred vision for 1-5 day after procedure

  • Patient may have floaters after the procedure

  • Both blurred vision and floaters improve quickly with time.

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