Cataract surgery is irreversible. This is because the cloudy natural lens that results in a cataract is removed during surgery and cannot be placed back in. In most cases, when people ask whether a cataract surgery can be redone, they’re often implying whether a cataract can come back or if there is anything else that can be done to improve their vision.

Can a Cataract Come Back?

The good news is that cataracts do not return once they have been removed.  A cataract occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy due to aging or trauma. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed and is replaced with an artificial lens implant. Since the lens is removed completely, the cataract cannot come back in the operated eye.

Can an IOL be Replaced?

If the intraocular lens (IOL) used during surgery is not centered correctly or is not the ideal power, it can be repositioned or replaced. For example, if you had your presbyopia corrected using a multifocal implant and you’re experiencing vision issues, such as poor near vision or halos following surgery, the IOL can be exchanged for a different presbyopia-correcting implant.

Cataract surgery is among the safest and most commonly performed surgical procedures in the U.S. Therefore, the need to redo a cataract surgery is infrequent.

Note that there are risks associated with replacing an IOL, as with any other surgery. Some effective alternatives to replacement surgery include:

  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Laser vision correction
  • Limbal relaxing incision

If you’re considering having your IOL replaced or repositioned, discuss your options thoroughly, analyzing the risks, benefits and suitable alternatives.

Before performing cataract surgery, your surgeon will take some measurements from your eye. These measurements are influenced by many factors, including eyeball length, corneal curvature and the position of the cataract as well as the new lens. Although not common, all surgeons have to replace an intraocular lens at some point, due to complications from the implant or poor lens positioning or lens power. If your surgeon feels the positioning of your lens or the lens power is incorrect, and it is safe to perform an exchange, consider discussing your options or going for a second opinion.

Will My Vision Worsen After Cataract Surgery?

Vision generally does not worsen following cataract surgery – unless you have other problems, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration later in life. The lens implants used for cataract surgery are highly durable and long-lasting. At times, the capsule that holds the lens implant may become cloudy following cataract surgery, affecting your vision. Your eye doctor may use a laser to clear the cloudiness and restore your vision.

Most people have to use eyeglasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery, at least for a limited period of time. Once your eyes have healed from surgery, your eye surgeon may recommend using prescription glasses for excellent vision.