Opacified Posterior Capsule
(Also known as Posterior Capsule Opacification, Cloudy Capsule, After-cataract)
When cataract surgery is performed, the back side of the cataract called the "posterior capsule", a transparent delicate membrane, is intentionally left behind in order to support the lens implant. It is usually nice and clear like a piece of cellophane but with time it may become cloudy. When this happens, it is called "posterior capsule opacification", a condition that occurs approximately 30% of the time after cataract surgery. This may occur at any time, from days to years after surgery, or never at all. When this happens, the vision may become cloudy or you may note glare or halos or "starbursts" from light sources such as headlights. These symptoms are much like the cataract that was removed, as if the cataract has returned, but it has not. See photo to right of an eye with this condition.
This condition can be treated with a very safe, quick, and painless office procedure with a laser (called "YAG Capsulotomy", "YAG" rhymes with "bag"), in which the cloudy membrane is opened. The vision usually recovers quickly (unless of course there are other issues with your eye). Potential complications are retinal detachment, high pressure, movement of the lens implant, or swelling in the retina, all of which much less than 1% and safer than the original cataract surgery.
After the procedure you may notice a fairly immediate improvement in vision but often patience is required as your eyes recover from the bright lights and dilation. Also, sometimes a glasses prescription change is necessary so sometimes a recheck is scheduled to make sure the glasses are correct after the procedure.