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YAG Capsulotomy

Closeup view of mature woman with cataract

The most common reason for decreased vision after cataract surgery is clouding of the capsule in which the lens implant is positioned. This occurs in 25% of patients. Common complaints noted from a cloudy capsule include a film over the eye or blurred vision, glare (sensitivity to light), and halos around lights seen most prominently at night with streetlights or car headlights. Capsular clouding can occur anywhere from months to years after surgery.

The treatment for capsular clouding is a laser capsulotomy (opening the posterior portion of the capsule) with a YAG laser. This is performed at the Specialty Surgery Center. Unlike cataract surgery, it is not necessary to see your medical doctor before surgery, have labs or even change your cloths. Your eye will be dilated with drops prior to the laser.

The laser is similar to the slit lamp in the office where you place your chin in the holder while leaning slightly forward. It is important to keep your eye steady. In certain cases eyedrops to numb the eye and a special contact lens to help steady the eye may be necessary. The laser procedure takes less than 5 minutes and is painless. After the laser, vision is usually red-tinged for a short period of time. By the next day the vision usually improves to where it was initially after the cataract surgery.

The most common side effect of the laser surgery is floaters,which move across your vision. Most often they settle down, acting more as a nuisance than a significant problem. Complications from the laser procedure are rare. One in one thousand patients may develop a retinal tear or detachment, which can be repaired if necessary. In very rare instances, the intraocular lens may dislocate potentially requiring a second procedure to repair or stabilize it. The pressure in the eye may become elevated occasionally requiring drops for several days. Swelling can occur in the back of the eye, which is usually resolves over a short time with drops.

If you are interested in a YAG capsulotomy, we will make arrangements for it at your convenience. We appreciate your trust in our office and will do our best to reward that trust with the best possible care.