Can cataract surgery be repeated? The ultimate guide

As we age, our vision also deteriorates, and one of the most common eye diseases that develop as we grow old is cataract. Cataract is characterized by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, hindering light from passing through the retina causing vision problems. Cataract surgery is one of the most effective ways of treating the condition, but can the procedure be repeated? In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at whether you can have cataract surgery more than once.

Understanding Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a common procedure that involves the removal of the clouded lens in the eye and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens. It is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home after the surgery provided the anesthesia wears off. Doctors usually recommend cataract surgery when the condition starts interfering with your daily activities, including driving, reading or any other activity that requires clear vision.

Factors That Affect the Need for Repeat Cataract Surgery

Although cataract surgery is a one-time procedure, sometimes, a patient may need to undergo an additional procedure due to several factors. The factors that can affect the need for repeat cataract surgery include:

  • Cataract Regrowth – In rare cases, your body may develop new eye tissues, and they may grow within the eye, which could regrow a cataract more rapidly.
  • Lens Dislocation – In some cases, the intraocular lens (IOL) that was inserted during the initial surgery could move or dislodge from its original position, making it necessary for a second surgery.
  • Posterior Capsule Opacity (PCO) – It is common for some patients to develop a cloudy membrane behind the IOL in the years after cataract surgery. A YAG laser capsulotomy is a painless procedure doctors may recommend to aid the removal of the posterior capsule that has become cloudy.
  • Vision Changes – Although cataract surgery can restore your vision, in some cases, you may experience changes in your vision that aren’t corrected, and any further vision problems or changes may require additional surgeries.

Cataract Regrowth

Although it may be rare, cataract regrowth may occur in some patients post their initial cataract surgery. Cataract regrowth may occur because of the lens capsule(1), which remains intact even after removing the cataract lens during the surgery. At times, a small part of the capsule may break or it may actively start growing from the edge of the undamaged parts of the capsule. When this happens, it leads to the growth of new cells which can obstruct vision.

Lens Dislocation

Lens dislocation can occur when the strain from everyday activities causes the artificial lens to shift, tilt, or dislodge from its intended position. This may cause blurry, distorted vision. In some cases, lens dislocation can be corrected with a repositioning procedure. However, in some cases, the lens may need to be reinserted into the eye or replaced with a new artificial intraocular lens.

Posterior Capsule Opacity (PCO)

After cataract surgery, it is normal to have a cloudy vision due to Posterior Capsule Opacity or secondary cataract. Sometimes, posterior capsular opacification(2) may develop weeks or even years after cataract surgery. During the surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed, leaving behind a very thin membrane known as the capsule that holds the new artificial intraocular lens in place. At times, the vision may become blurry again due to the cloudy layer that forms behind the artificial lens.

Vision Changes

Although cataract surgery can provide notable improvement of your vision, some patients notice changes in their vision, such as persistent issues with glare or blurry details. Vision changes can occur if the surgeon’s initial measurements were not accurate, or the lens implant displacement may have caused the issue. In these cases, additional surgery may be necessary.

When is Repeat Cataract Surgery Necessary?

As previously mentioned, cataract surgery doesn’t usually need to be repeated, but it does become necessary when complications arise. If you’ve undergone your initial surgery and notice problems returning, such as cloudy vision or problems with glare, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist or eye surgeon to assess the condition of your eyes and determine what could be causing the problem.

Is it Safe to Undergo Multiple Cataract Surgeries?

In most cases, repeat cataract surgery is safe and has the same success rate as initial cataract surgery. However, the risks increase considering cataract surgery is a delicate process that requires extreme precision. The more surgeries you undergo, the more complicated the procedure tends to become. Therefore, it is essential to discuss with your surgeon the risks and the need for the surgery before signing up for the procedure.

What are the Benefits of Repeat Cataract Surgery?

The main benefit of repeat cataract surgery is the improvement of vision quality. The surgery also reduces the chances of cataracts returning in the future, particularly if you’ve undergone a procedure that involves the removal of the entire lens. Furthermore, the development of more advanced cataract surgeries has helped improve the safety and effectiveness of the procedure, offering patients better vision results after the procedure.


Cataract surgery is an effective way of treating the condition, and although the procedure is usually a one-time event, patients may need to consider a second surgery at some point in their lives. The procedure remains safe, and the outcomes of the second surgery match the initial surgery. However, the decision to undergo additional surgeries will depend on the surgeon’s assessment and your overall condition.


1. Cataract Regrowth?

2. What is Posterior Capsule Opacity?

Common Questions and Answers

Q1. Can cataracts grow back after surgery?

A. Although rare, cataracts can grow back after surgery. If this occurs, repeat surgery may become necessary.

Q2. Can you have cataract surgery more than once?

A. Yes, you can have cataract surgery more than once, but it usually depends on whether complications arise or not.

Q3. What happens if you need cataract surgery again?

A. If you require another cataract surgery, it is essential to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Surgeons will usually evaluate your condition before deciding on the appropriate treatment for your eyes.

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