YAG Eye Laser Capsulotomy

YAG eye laser can treat posterior capsule opacity safely, effectively and painlessly. A YAG laser capsulotomy is a simple laser procedure used to make an opening in the cloudy capsule that allows light to pass through it again, helping you see clearly.

Why has my cataract become cloudy again?

When you have cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist removes the cloudy natural lens of your eye (cataract) and replaces it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This new lens is held in place in your eye’s natural lens capsule, or bag.  Your surgeon makes every attempt to maintain the integrity of the lens capsule and in most cases your vision after cataract surgery is very clear. In about 10% of cases the capsule can become cloudy or wrinkled some time during the recover because the lens epithelial cells remaining after cataract surgery have grown on the capsule, causing blurry vision.  This is called a posterior capsule opacification (PCO). It is sometimes called a “secondary cataract”, although it is not really a cataract as the new lens is not opaque, it is the capsule that has developed the scar tissue causing it to become cloudy. These changes can happen weeks, months or years after your original cataract surgery.

What is a YAG laser capsulotomy?

Fortunately, a YAG laser can treat posterior capsule opacity safely, effectively and painlessly. A YAG laser capsulotomy is a simple laser procedure used to make an opening in the cloudy capsule that allows light to pass through it again, helping you see clearly.

What shall I expect during the procedure?

The YAG laser capsulotomy is done at Bowen Eye Clinic in the purpose built laser eye surgery facility.

Please eat, drink and take your medication as normal before the procedure. The procedure itself only takes 5-10 mins but allow yourself to be at the clinic for 30-45 minutes.

Your surgeon will put dilating drops into your eyes to open up the pupil, the black part of the eye, which can take around 20 minutes to dilate fully.

Next, you may have anaesthetic eye drops instilled which allows the surgeon to comfortably put the special contact lens onto the front surface of your eye. This contact lens helps to focus the laser beam onto the area to be treated and also helps to keep your eyelid open. The contact lens is removed at the end of the procedure.

During the procedure you will be seated in a chair and asked to place your chin on the frame of the laser machine, which has a chin rest and handles for you to hold on to. It is important to keep your head very still. There will be a bright light which allows your surgeon to see the internal structure of your eye.  During the procedure which lasts only a couple of minutes, you will see another bright light and hear the click noise of the laser machine. You will not feel any pain.

The laser makes small holes in the capsule which join up to make an opening in the capsule, allowing the light to pass through the back of the eye, restoring clear vision.

After the procedure you will be able to go home with a prescription for eyedrops.

What shall I expect after the procedure?

You may find that immediately after the procedure you are unable to see properly. This is due to the bright flash of light from the laser. Your vision should be clearer in about 40 minutes. The drops that were put in to dilate your pupils will blur your vision for several hours, and you will be unable to drive home. Make sure you arrange transport home after the procedure.

Your surgeon will prescribe anti-inflammatory eyedrops. This is to offset any rise in your intra-ocular pressure. Your surgeon will arrange a follow up appointment for you 1-2 weeks after the treatment.

What eye symptoms shall I expect after my procedure?

It is normal to have itchy, gritty or sticky eyes and mild discomfort for the remainder of the day after the treatment.

For a few days or even weeks after the YAG laser capsulotomy treatment, you may be aware of black cobwebs or spider-like floaters in the eye. They will gradually become less noticeable within a few days or weeks after the treatment.

You can do all normal activities after the procedure such as bend over, carry shopping, wash your face and hair. However, you should avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, wearing any eye make up for at least a week, putting any products on your eyes, swimming for at least a week, ball sports or any activity that risks you getting hit in the face for a month.

Take it easy for a few days as your vision may take a while to return to normal.

Are there any risks to a YAG laser capsulotomy procedure?

There are some risks with the laser treatment but they are each very uncommon. The risks are inflammation and/or a pressure rise in the eye, retinal detachment (less than 1%), lens dislocation (less than 1%) and raised pressure in the eye.

As with any eye surgery, if your vision does not clear within a few hours, or if your vision worsens or you lose peripheral vision, or you feel any pain or discomfort, see flashes of light, have a burst of floaters or see a “curtain” floating please contact us immediately. If you have any concerns about your recovery, we’re ready to help.

Your surgeon will discuss any risks or potential complications and how they apply to you at your assessment.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a YAG laser capsulotomy includes , the procedure and all follow up care appointments. This can be covered by your health insurance. Please contact the Bowen Eye Clinic to discuss pricing and book an appointment on 0800 69 2020