Posterior Capsule Opacity is NOT a result of a complication during or from your cataract surgery. It is however an unavoidable after effect of cataract surgery. It is easily treated and the vision in most cases is restored; as long as there is no other associated ophthalmic pathology.

The natural lens in the eye that forms a cloudy image known as a cataract sits inside what is called a ‘capsule’. The capsule is elastic in form and shrinks tightly around the lens. During cataract surgery the lens is removed through a small incision in the front of the lens capsule and vacuumed out and the new ‘intraocular lens’ is put in its place. The capsule then wraps around it neatly, avoiding the need for sutures. Inside the lens are epithelial cells that continue to grow at a minute rate from the time our eyes form as a foetus. During cataract surgery these cells are removed with the cloudy lens, however it is unavoidable that some of the microscopic cells may remain. It is these epithelial cells that form behind the intraocular lens on the lining of the capsule that cause the haziness in vision, known as Posterior Capsule Opacity (PCO).

The Posterior Capsule Opacity is treated in the consulting rooms at the Launceston Eye Institute with a laser known as the YAG Laser Capsulotomy. During this procedure a laser is used to remove the hazy capsule by directing two laser beams into the eye, where the two laser beams meet is where the laser can blast the PCO that forms, returning clearer vision to the eye.

This treatment, like most ophthalmic treatments, requires your pupils to be dilated. The laser will only take a few minutes and it is virtually painless with usually no discomfort after treatment.

Following the laser treatment you will most likely be required to use drops for several days. The majority of patients will notice an improvement in their vision within a day following the procedure. If you have any concerns, or your vision is not improving, after your procedure please contact the Launceston Eye Institute on 03 6344 1377.


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Tasmanian Eye Institute is funding a dedicated Ophthalmic Gene Therapy Centre to be located in Hobart. This will be the first of its kind in Australia. 60% of blindness in infants is caused by inherited (genetic) eye diseases.

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