This procedure is usually carried out after cataract surgery, when people experience the common complication known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO). This happens when the clear sac (capsule) behind the pupil in where the artificial lens is implanted, goes cloudy – making it difficult to see clearly. It may appear as if the cataract is coming back, or that you’re looking through frosted glass.
YAG laser capsulotomy is a treatment for PCO that creates a hole in the centre of this cloudy capsule by using a laser. This allows light to pass through to the retina at the back of your eye, restoring clear vision
The treatment is completely painless and should take up to 10 minutes to carry out. Before the procedure your pupils will be dilated with eye drops. Then the local anaesthetic drops to num the surface of the eye.
Your surgeon will ask you to sit in a chair and may put a contact lens on your eye, which will help to focus the laser beam. You will then be asked to rest your chin in front of the laser machine (slit lamp) to help keep your eye still.
After the dilation drops have worn off you should notice that the cloudiness has eased, and your vision has improved. The extent of improvement depends on how cloudy your sight was to start with and the overall health of your eye.
After the treatment
The eye drops used for the procedure will have temporarily dilated your pupils and blurred your vision, so you won’t be able to drive immediately after your treatment, but you are free to go home. Any blurred vision should clear within a few hours.
Your surgeon may prescribe you some drops to take for a few days after your treatment.
Benefits and risks of YAG laser capsulotomy
The most obvious benefit of having YAG laser capsulotomy is that it will make your vision clearer.
Although complications from this treatment are uncommon, the chance of any problems occurring depends on the overall health of your eye and other factors, such as your general health. Your consultant will be able to discuss these with you in greater detail.