YAG Laser capsulotomy

Why do you need YAG Laser capsulotomy?

A YAG laser capsulotomy is a special laser treatment used to improve vision after cataract surgery. It is a simple, commonly performed procedure which is very safe.  During your cataract operation, the natural lens inside the eye that had become cloudy is removed. A new lens is inserted during cataract surgery.  In a small number of patients the lens capsule can thicken and become slightly cloudy and can affect light entering the eye.  This means that vision can become blurred and you can experience glare from lights.  This process can happen in the months following your surgery but most commonly occurs around two years following surgery.  When you have YAG laser capsulotomy the laser is directed at the capsule to create a hole which then enables light to enter through the lens.

What does the procedure involve?

The procedure is a simple treatment within our day-case clinic which takes approximately 20 minutes to perform.  You will have some drops put into your eye to make the pupil bigger along with anaesthetic eye drops to numb the surface of the eye.  The procedure is painless and causes minimal discomfort.

The laser is a machine similar to eye diagnostic machines you will have experienced at the optician or clinic before.  The Consultant will place a mirrored lens on your eye before applying the laser beam. This lens allows the doctor to view the membrane clearly so that the laser can be accurately applied to make a small hole to clear vision.

What are the benefits/risks?

After the treatment most patients find that their vision is usually blurry for a number of hours from the drops. You can also be sensitive to light so it is advisable to bring sunglasses to wear following your procedure, you can also not drive for the day following the procedure.  No special treatment is required and you can return to normal activities straight away.

It is normal to have itchy, gritty or sticky eyes and mild discomfort for the remainder of the day after the treatment.  You will have a follow up appointment a few weeks following your procedure to check your eyes.

Complications after this treatment are very uncommon. Occasionally the pressure inside the eye rises immediately after the laser treatment. If this occurs, you may need extra treatment before you can go home.  Occasionally the opening made by the laser beam is incomplete, or not big enough. This will be discovered either after your treatment, or on your follow-up visit. If this is the case, it may be necessary to repeat the treatment at a later date.