YAG Laser Capsulotomy



What is a YAG Laser Capsulotomy?

Approximately 20% of cataract patients will develop haze on the membrane behind the intraocular lens implant following cataract surgery, which results in diminished vision.

The vision may be blurred, hazy, or is associated with significant glare and loss of visual acuity.  This condition is known as posterior capsule opacity.

In YAG Laser Capsulotomy, a laser is used to create an opening in the hazy capsule situated behind the IOL implant to allow you to see more clearly.

What happens during the procedure?

This procedure is performed in the laser room at in the out-patient clinic of the hospital or in your eye surgeon’s office.  Your eye surgeon will use eye drops to numb your eye and to make the pupil large.

A special contact lens is put on your eye to help direct the laser’s high-energy beam of light at the capsule behind the implant lens in your eye.

The laser makes an opening in the capsule. You will see a few brief flashes of light and feel little, if any, discomfort.

The procedure usually takes less than 5 minutes.  You will be able to go home soon after it is done.

What happens after the procedure?

Your vision will probably be blurred for a short period, but then it should clear in an hour or two.  You will not need to wear an eye patch and you may resume normal activities immediately.

Your surgeon will want to check you that afternoon to make sure the eye pressure is normal.

Your eye surgeon will give you a prescription for eye drops to be taken four times a day, usually for 5 days. (You can anticipate some “floaters” following the procedure, however, these will likely resolve within a few weeks.)

If your vision does not clear within a few hours, if the vision worsens or you lose peripheral vision, or if you feel any pain or discomfort, call your surgeon.  If it is the evening or the weekend and you are having problems, you should go to emergency to be assessed.

What are the risks of this procedure?

There are some risks with the laser treatment such as inflammation, retinal detachment, lens dislocation, and raised pressure in the eye.

Each of these problems is potentially serious, but they are each very uncommon.  Rarely the procedure may need to be repeated.

If you have any questions about the risks of this laser treatment, please ask your eye surgeon.

Information about eye conditions, disorders and treatments is presented courtesy of the Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario.

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