Treating PCO (Posterior Capsular Opacification)

Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO): The opacity of the posterior capsule which holds the intraocular lens is called Posterior Capsule Opacification.

Types of PCO :

  • Fibrosis type.
  • Pearl type.
  • Combination of both.

Treatment of Posterior Capsular Opacification: The symptoms that occur are quite similar to that of cataract like blurring vision, halos and glare etc. PCO is often misunderstood by many and it seems like cataract has resurfaced. It is also called ‘secondary cataract’ or ‘after cataract’. During a cataract surgery, the natural lens is removed from the anterior position of the lens capsule. It is replaced by a new lens (IOL) letting the eye regain vision. The posterior position of lens capsule is left intact in order to support the IOL.

In rare cases, the posterior capsule lining gets hazy causing vision disturbances due to various factors eg. the regrowth of the residual lens epithelial cells. Nd:YAG posterior capsulotomy is considered to be very effective for PCO treatment. Other alternative treatments are direct injection into the anterior chamber or impregnation of the IOL.    

In case of primarily fibrosed capsules the treatment may vary as clear fibrosis facilitates this treatment. Innovation in the material used in the lens, IOL shapes, IOL designs and therapeutic agents etc. have been researched extensively to prevent PCO formation or delay early onset.

What happens during the Nd: YAG posterior capsulotomy? The alternatives, risks, benefits of the treatment are discussed before the treatment.

  • Dilation of the pupil of affected eye with eye drops.
  • YAG Laser creates a minute hole in the posterior capsule of the eye from the line of sight in order to let the light to pass through the eye from the retina to get clear vision.
  • Anti – inflammation drops are instilled to combat post operative inflammation.

A slit lamp is used during the procedure. It is an outpatient procedure and anesthesia is not used generally. Sedation/tropical drops is given in certain case for children or non co-operative patients as it is essential to remain still during the procedure. Generally normal vision is expected after a day and entire procedure last for few minutes. The recovery time could vary from person to person.

Advantages of the treatment:                                                             

  • Glare is reduced.
  • Vision acuity gets improved.
  • Double vision is cleared.
  • YAG Laser is used in the treatment.
  • Absence of incisions reduces infections.
  • Safety and effectiveness of the procedure in regaining vision.
  • Low complication rate.

PCO Risk: Most common risk is the increased IOP (Intraocular pressure) for short duration. Some experience temporary floaters which is quite normal and in rare cases retinal detachment could also occur. In case conditions like muscular degeneration is already present may affect the visual outcome after the procedure.

With advanced surgical techniques and choice of right IOL selection PCO has significantly deduced nevertheless, after a recent cataract surgery if you are facing vision issues, do get in touch with us for further details.

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