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Rancho Mirage, California 92270

Is a Posterior Capsule Rupture to Blame for My Poor Vision?

Cataract surgery is one of the safest eye procedures you can undergo, with an impressive success rate of about 98 percent. Still, there’s potential for serious complications.

That’s why you need an experienced surgeon who can manage the unexpected if it occurs. Although uncommon, a posterior capsule rupture is one of the things that can go wrong during your cataract procedure.

Keep reading to learn more about capsule rupture, how it causes poor vision, and if it could be to blame for your poor vision.

What is a Posterior Capsule Rupture?

To better understand what a posterior capsule rupture is, it’s essential to know what a posterior capsule is first. After cataract surgery, the posterior capsule creates a physical barrier between your eye’s anterior (front) and posterior (back) segments.

A posterior rupture is a tear in the posterior capsule and is a complication of cataract surgery. Studies show that a capsule tear is reported in 1 to 3 percent of cataract surgeries.

A rupture compromises the chances of placing a posterior lens and achieving your ideal visual results after cataract surgery. There are many risk factors for a capsular rupture, including:

  • Having small pupils
  • How healthy are your eyes
  • History of intravitreal injections
  • Previous retina surgery
  • History of eye trauma
  • Dense cataracts
  • Posterior polar cataracts
  • Shallow or deep anterior chamber

Also, a cataract surgeon’s surgical skills and experience can play a role in a posterior capsule rupture. Some surgeons have a higher complication rate of capsule rupture than others.

How a Posterior Capsule Rupture Causes Poor Vision

A posterior capsule rupture can slow visual recovery after cataract surgery. It also increases your chances of developing conditions like:

Corneal Edema

Corneal swelling or corneal edema is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the cornea. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped outer surface of your eye that lets you see clearly.

Inside the surface of your cornea is a layer of cells called the endothelium. The work of these cells is to remove liquid from the cornea.

But when they’re damaged, fluid can build up, making your cornea swell. Because the cornea aids in transmitting and focusing light as it enters your eye, corneal edema affects your vision.

Some of the symptoms of corneal edema are:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seeing halos or glare
  • Experiencing a feeling of having something stuck in your eye, often called a foreign body sensation

Macular Swelling

Also called macular edema, macular swelling refers to fluid building up under the macula. The macula is a small area found at the center of your retina.

It’s responsible for sharp vision and straight-ahead vision. You develop macular edema if the inflammation of blood vessels happens under or on your macula.

The macula cannot work as it should if it’s swollen. The swelling can distort your central vision. It may also lead to the following symptoms:

  • Wavy vision, where straight lines appear wavy or slanted
  • Colors appearing dull or faded
  • Seeing gray, black, or blank spots in your field of vision
  • Loss of contrast sensitivity


Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is found at the back of your eye.

It sends light signals from the eye to the brain. Your brain depends on these signals to turn them into the images you see.

Often, fluid accumulates in the front part of your eye. This excess fluid puts pressure on your eye and gradually damages the optic nerve. Most patients with glaucoma don’t realize they have the eye condition until irreversible vision loss occurs.

When many people experience noticeable symptoms, it’s usually after vision loss has already happened. Unfortunately, vision loss from glaucoma is permanent.

The only way to diagnose glaucoma early is through comprehensive, routine eye exams. The common symptoms of glaucoma are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Experiencing glare from light sources
  • Lack of peripheral vision
  • Needing more light

Retinal Detachment

A detached retina occurs when your retina pulls away from its usual position at the back of your eye. The retina transmits visual images through the optic nerve to the brain.

It provides sharp, detailed vision that allows you to perform tasks like driving, reading, and working on your computer. If a retinal detachment occurs, the retina is damaged, and your vision becomes impaired.

Retinal detachment is considered a medical emergency that can lead to irreversible vision loss without prompt treatment.

Signs of a detached retina include:

  • Flashes of light
  • Seeing a sudden increase in flashes and floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • A gray shadow moving across your field of vision
  • Gradually reduced side vision


If you have an infection inside your eye, it’s called endophthalmitis. It can cause aggravating symptoms such as:

  • Eye pain
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Itching
  • Eye discomfort
  • Sensitivity to light
  • An eyelid that’s tender to the touch

Retained Lens Fragments

Sometimes, tiny cataract pieces fall back towards the retina due to a posterior capsule rupture. If this happens, you’ll need to coordinate a second procedure with a vitreoretinal surgeon.

That’s because the tiny lens fragments left behind after your cataract procedure can appear afterward in the form of:

  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Floaters

Due to the risks of having a capsule tear, it’s imperative to have close follow-up if you have a posterior capsule rupture. Apart from a capsule tear, other causes of low vision are:

  • Uncorrected refractive errors
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Diabetic retinopathy

Get to the Bottom of Your Poor Vision

With his fellowship training in medical retina, Dr. Tokuhara is uniquely qualified to address a posterior capsule rupture and other causes of poor vision.

Are you experiencing vision problems after having cataract surgery? Get a second opinion by scheduling an appointment at Desert Vision Center in Rancho Mirage, CA, now!

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35900 Bob Hope Drive
Suite 175
Rancho Mirage, California 92270

Phone: (760) 340-4700