YAG laser capsulotomy, also known as laser posterior capsulotomy, is a treatment for removinghazy posterior capsules that sometimes forms after patients undergo cataract surgery.
When a cataract is removed, a thin membrane around the lens (posterior capsule) is left in place. Over the course of months, or even years, this membrane can gradually become cloudy as cells within the eye grow on the capsule, which causes blurred vision. Referred to as posterior capsule opacification, and sometimes as a “secondary cataract” or “after cataract”, thislens capsule can become dense and cause vision loss. YAG laser capsulotomy painlessly removes the clouded back lining of the lens, allowing light to pass through to the retina and restore vision.
Before the procedure begins, intraocular pressure within the eye will be measured. Next, two sets of drops will be used on the eye(s) receiving treatment. The first set is to dilate the pupil, while the second set is an anaesthetic to numb the eye. Using a contact lens to help focus the laser and prevent blinking, the hazy posterior capsule is quickly and painlessly removed by the beam.
YAG laser capsulotomy is performed as an outpatient procedure and typically only takes about 5 minutes to complete.However, patients may need to remain after the procedure so that post-op intraocular pressure can be measured.
After YAG laser capsulotomy, the eye will still be dilated and sensitive to light. It is recommended that patients be accompanied on the day of the procedure to provide them with a ride home.
Recovery after YAG Laser Capsulotomy
The recovery process after YAG laser capsulotomy is very mild. Patients may resume their normal daily activities immediately after treatment.
Patients may experience floaters – small dark shapes that resemble pieces of dust of hair that float within the frontal field of vision – for 1 to 2 weeks afterwards, but these will disappear. The eye(s) may be sensitive and have redness immediately after surgery, but medicated eye drops are given to reduce inflammation.
Most patients will notice their vision improve within a day after undergoing YAG laser capsulotomy.
Any patients experiencing flashes of light, the appearance of a new floaters, or a dark curtain appearing over the frontal field of vision should call Calgary Retina Consultants immediately or go to the emergency room at their nearest hospital.