YAG laser capsulotomy

What is a YAG laser capsulotomy?

YAG laser capsulotomy is a laser procedure that is performed after cataract surgery in order to improve your vision. The special laser treatment is commonly performed and is very safe.

Why is it necessary?

When the natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, it is to be removed during cataract surgery and replaced by a new plastic lens. This is placed inside the lens membrane (known as the capsule) in your eye.

In a small number of patients, the capsule may thicken after surgery and leaves them with cloudy vision. There is difficulty in light reaching the back of the eye, which can leave the patient with glare from bright light or from lights during nighttime.

Capsule thickening commonly occurs about two years after surgery although, in some cases, it can happen months after the cataract operation. YAG laser capsulotomy uses a special lens to apply a laser beam to the capsule, which creates a small hole in the centre of the capsule and lets light through.

What happens during the procedure?

On the day of the procedure, you will be taken into a laser room and sat at a machine with a chin and headrest that has a laser attached. The doctor will put anaesthetic drops in your eye to numb it and to dilate the pupil before the procedure begins.

The eye specialist will put a special mirrored lens on your eye before applying the laser beam, which allows them to see the membrane clearly. They will then apply the laser and make a small hole in it to clear the vision. You will hear a clicking sound and see a flashing light during the treatment. The procedure takes about 10-20 minutes and is not painful.

What happens during recovery?

You will be advised to sit and recover for about 10 minutes. Vision will be blurred for a few hours following the laser treatment because of the eye drops, which were used to dilate the pupils.

Your doctor may prescribe eye drops or tablets to use for a short while in order to protect the eye against any short term increase in eye pressure.

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