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Retained lens fragments (RLF) is usually found in older people. As the eye ages it develops a progressive opacification called a cataract. The cataracts create a cloud over the eye which can result in a significant loss of vision. RLF can occur in up to one percent of patients who undergo cataract surgery and involves pieces of cataract lens that are left behind.

What causes RLF?

There are several different reasons for why people suffer with RLF. Sometimes they occur when a cataract proves difficult to remove in its entirety. Other times the zonules (bag) that hold the cataract in place has become damaged allowing pieces of cataract lens to float into the back of the eye.

retained lens.jpg

“This image was originally published in the Retina Image Bank® website.

Author: John S. King, MD. Photographer: Maisee Yang. Optos Picture With Speculum: Dislocated Natural Lens. Retina Image Bank. 2019; 28625. © the American Society of Retina Specialists."


Eye Drops - Sometimes surgery can be avoided. Eye drops are used to reduce inflammation and eye pressure allowing the small piece of cataract to dissolve on its own.

Surgery – In some cases eye drops are not suitable. In these cases, surgery would be offered as an alternative option. The surgery will involve the removal of the larger residual lens fragments from the eye. In most cases the gel in the back of the eye, or vitreous, must be removed in part through the surgical process called “vitrectomy”. Once the lens material is free of the vitreous gel it can be removed more safely.

To learn more about treatment options relating to Retained Lens Fragments please schedule a visit with Dr El Annan at the Annan Retina Eye Center. Please call 346-22A-NNAN to speak to a member of staff who will be more than happy to help you.

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