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How To Fix Cloudy Vision After Cataract Surgery



Cataract surgery can reduce cloudiness and haziness in your vision. The procedure involves removing and replacing the damaged lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). Some people experience cloudy vision soon after the surgery, which defeats the initial intention.

If you have cloudy, hazy, or misty vision after getting new IOLs implanted, seek professional help. The condition is treatable, but you need to address it as soon as possible. Early treatment can restore your vision and prevent further damage to your vision.

What Causes Cloudy Vision After Surgery?

Fixing cloudy vision that develops after cataract surgery requires understanding what causes the condition. The surgery is performed to treat cloudy vision. Having the same problem is the last thing one may expect, but cloudy vision after surgery is common. The good part is the condition is easily treatable with a procedure that lasts a few minutes.

Cloudy vision occurs due to posterior capsule opacification (PCO). The posterior capsule is a membrane that protects the lens of your eye. During the initial procedure, your eye doctor cuts through the posterior capsule, removes the blurry lens, and replaces it with the IOL. Your surgeon will take the necessary precautions to avoid harming the posterior capsule. The intraocular lens will be placed inside the capsule.

People with cloudy vision after surgery may experience cataract-like symptoms. The condition occurs when the posterior capsule becomes blurry or opaque, blocking light from reaching the lens. PCO can occur because of remnant lens epithelial cell proliferation or migration, collagen deposition, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and lens fiber generation. Cytokines, extracellular matrix proteins, and growth factors are the biggest influences.

How Do I Treat Post-surgery Cloudy Vision?

Cloudy vision after surgery is the most frequent complication but one you can prevent and treat. Advancements in surgical techniques, IOL material, quality, and design have reduced modern PCO rates, but the problem is still significant. If left untreated, PCO can make your vision worse than it was before the initial surgery. The cells within the eye naturally grow on the posterior capsule, gradually making it hazy.

You can develop cloudy vision days, weeks, months, or years after your surgery. Some symptoms are expected within the first few days after surgery and quickly fade away as you recover. Others develop later after you’ve recovered. PCO differs from cataracts and has one effective treatment: YAG Laser Capsulotomy.  Not all cases of post-surgery cloudy eyes stem from PCO, so treatment will vary. Here are some common fixes:

1. YAG Laser Capsulotomy

If your cloudy vision stems from PCO, YAG Laser Capsulotomy is the most effective treatment. The procedure involves using a beam of light to create a tiny hole in the posterior capsule, allowing light to pass through. You’ll experience drastic improvements immediately after the capsulotomy. The procedure is also quick and takes roughly five minutes.

2. Anti-inflammation Medication

Surgically removing your eye lens can trigger inflammation, a healthy immune system response. Inflammation may temporarily affect your vision and comfort. Most cases resolve within a few days as your eye heals and adapts to the IOL. Your ophthalmologist may prescribe medication to help reduce swelling and expedite healing and recovery.

3. Eye Drops & Artificial Tears

Some cases of cloudy vision come from dry eyes, a common symptom of cataracts. Your eyes may remain dry after surgery, given the inflammation and disrupted tear film. If your cloudy eyes stem from dry eyes, you can use eye drops to lubricate them. Lubrication can result in instant improvements. Choose prescription drops instead of OTC alternatives.

4. NSAIDs & Rest

Ophthalmologists may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops and injections for cloudy vision stemming from cystoid macular edema (CME). The macula (central retina) may become swollen and blur or distort your vision. The condition generally resolves naturally or through NSAIDs.

What to Do About Cataract Surgery & Cloudy Vision

Surgically removing cataracts involves opening the posterior capsule and replacing the damaged lens with new intraocular lenses. The procedure is well-established and used to treat hazy vision. Improvements may appear soon after surgery, but you must go through the different phases of inflammation and healing. Sometimes the haziness returns.

If you have cloudy vision after cataract surgery, you should seek a professional diagnosis to determine the underlying cause. Some conditions are temporary, and no reason to worry, while others require prompt attention. Stick to reputable ophthalmologists with experience performing eye surgery in your area.

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