Can I Get Cataract Surgery Twice

Cataract surgery is a commonly carried out procedure that most of us will undergo in later life.

Cataract surgery is a commonly carried out procedure that most of us will undergo in later life. There are lots of myths surrounding the treatment, including that sometimes cataracts return, requiring a second cataract procedure.

We want to assure you that a cataract can’t return. However, there is a small chance that a condition can occur that mimics the symptoms of a cataract. This is easily treated but has mistakenly become known as a “secondary cataract”. 

Read on to discover the truth about this, how it’s treated, and—very importantly—the reason why you might need a second procedure to treat a cataract.

Cataracts, Surgery, and Everything In-Between

  • What is a secondary cataract?
  • How it’s treated 

What is a secondary cataract?

The confusing name, secondary cataract, has probably played a huge role in the common misconception that the condition can return. This is also why people ask if they can have cataract surgery twice.

It’s time to debunk this, and it’s easily done by explaining exactly what the so-called secondary cataract really is.

To understand, it’s necessary to have a quick recap on what happens during cataract surgery.

When a cataract is removed, the surgeon makes a small incision in the eye and into the capsule that houses the lens. A laser is then used to break down the lens before it’s suctioned out. A new, artificial lens is then inserted in its place.

However, this lens needs something to be attached to. To enable this, the very back portion of the lens capsule is left in place. In a small number of cases, some months or years after the procedure, proteins can begin to clump together on this piece of the lens capsule. This brings about very similar symptoms as that of cataracts, namely:

  • Blurred vision
  • Faded colors
  • Difficulty in seeing in low light
  • Double vision

The reason this happens is that the gathering proteins disturb how light flows through the eye, distorting our vision. It is not, however, a new cataract forming. 

The condition has a clinical name—posterior capsule opacification (PCO).

How it’s treated

Thankfully, PCO is easily and quickly treated. It’s done in the doctor’s office and takes around 5 minutes. The treatment is known as YAG laser and, if necessary, can be carried out on both eyes during the appointment. It’s effective in over 95% of cases and will not need to be repeated. Improvements should be noticed within 1-2 days.

Why a Cataract can’t Return

  • Cataracts surgery is definitive
  • The only reason you’ll need a second cataract surgery

Cataracts surgery is definitive

When you undergo cataract surgery, the natural lens is removed. The artificial lens doesn’t provide a surface on which anything can adhere, therefore a new cataract cannot reform on the lens.

The only reason you’ll need a second cataract surgery

The only reason to perform a second cataract procedure will be to address the other eye. In the vast majority of cases, surgery isn’t carried out on both eyes at the same time. This is because cataracts tend to evolve differently in each eye, meaning that when one is ready the other isn’t.

This means that you might be likely to have two procedures in your lifetime, but only one on each eye. 

Get the Best Modern Cataract Surgery at the West Boca Eye Center

The West Boca Eye Center is known around the world for its leading cataract surgery. Because the clinic treats all aspects of eye health, we’ve set up an internal section within the academic-grade facility that deals specifically with cutting-edge cataract treatment. 

Known as the Modern Cataract Surgery Clinic and headed by globally renowned cataract ophthalmologist, Dr. Brent Bellotte, patients benefit from the ultimate cataract treatment from the very best professionals.

Head to to find out more.


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