Posterior capsule opacification and anterior capsule opacification

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2001 Feb;12(1):35-40. doi: 10.1097/00055735-200102000-00007.


Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is still the most frequent complication of cataract surgery. A variety of studies has led to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of PCO, and strategies of molecular biology have produced new therapeutic options, such as immunological techniques or gene therapeutic approaches. Surgical strategies and intra-ocular lens-dependent factors also are capable to reduce the rate of PCO. In-the-bag implantation of intra-ocular lenses with a sharp optic edge seems to be effective in inhibiting equatorial lens epithelial cell migration to the center of the posterior capsule. Several PCO documentation systems have been developed that will lead to more exact and better comparable recording of PCO rates. In the year 2000, PCO or secondary cataract is still the most frequent complication after extracapsular cataract surgery. In a 1998 meta-analysis, PCO rates of 11.8% 1 year after extracapsular cataract surgery with intraocular lens implantation, 20.7% after 3 years, and 28.4 % after 5 years have been reported. For the United States, it has been estimated that the overall expenses for treatment of PCO are only exceeded by the costs for cataract treatment itself. In the past decade, a lot of experimental and clinical studies have been performed on this topic. They have led to 1) to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of the development of anterior and posterior capsule opacification; 2) more objective and better comparable systems of documentation and analysis of PCO; and a number of 3) surgical and 4) pharmaceutical strategies to prevent PCO.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / prevention & control
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / pathology*
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / surgery
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Postoperative Complications* / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications* / prevention & control