What is posterior capsular opacification and YAG laser capsulotomy
During cataract surgery, a thin, transparent capsule surrounding the cataract must be left inside the eye to support the artificial lens implant, which replaces the cataract. However, in approximately 10-20% of patients, this transparent capsule may become thick and cloudy at any time following the surgery. This condition, known as posterior capsular opacification, hinders the light passing to the back of the eye.
The procedure that is used to clear this cloudy capsule using laser is called ‘YAG laser capsulotomy’.
What are the symptoms of Posterior capsule opacification (PCO)
Blurred vision, glare, or halos can occur gradually over months or years following cataract surgery. These visual disturbances may interfere with your ability to see objects clearly or drive safely at night.
How is Posterior capsule opacification treated
This condition, known as posterior capsular opacification, is treated by using a YAG laser to create a hole in the cloudy capsule. This procedure, called 'YAG Laser Capsulotomy,' allows more light to pass through the hole and reach the back of the eye. YAG Laser Capsulotomy is a pain-free outpatient procedure and it is not a surgery.
Are there any alternative treatments
The only alternative is to take no action. If left untreated, the capsule may or may not continue to become cloudier. This condition does not lead to blindness, but if your vision continues to blur, you may consider undergoing the procedure at a later date.
What does the YAG laser capsulotomy procedure involve
The YAG Laser capsulotomy procedure is an outpatient, 'walk-in and walk-out' procedure that is carried out in a sitting-up position. The actual procedure itself takes only about a minute. However, due to various pre-procedure tests and preparation, you should expect to stay in the hospital for approximately 2 hours. During the procedure, your eyes will be dilated, and anaesthetic drops will be used to numb the eye and place a contact lens.
The YAG laser is then used to create a hole in the cloudy capsule. This procedure is pain-free, although you may experience temporary dazzlement due to the bright light used. Your vision should improve over the next couple of days, sometimes even within a few hours after the YAG laser capsulotomy. Due to pupil dilation, you will not be able to return to work on the day of the laser procedure, but you can resume your regular activities from the following day.
Usually, follow-up appointments are not required after a YAG laser capsulotomy procedure. However, if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Viswanathan. You may also visit your optician after 4 weeks to update your glasses prescription.
Risks associated with YAG laser capsulotomy
YAG laser capsulotomy is a safe procedure with a very low risk of complications. However, as with any procedure, there are risks involved, and it is important to discuss them with your surgeon before giving consent for the surgery.
Please be vigilant for flashing lights, new or increased floaters, and/or a gray curtain-like shadow covering part of your vision. These symptoms may indicate retinal detachment, which is a rare occurrence in 1% of patients after YAG laser capsulotomy. If you experience any of these symptoms, please attend A&E department without delay as this may indicate retinal detachment.
The information mentioned here is based on a variety of sources, including published research.
It is impossible to diagnose and treat patients without complete eye examination by an ophthalmologist. I hope the above information will be of help before and after a consultation which this information supplements and does not replace. This information must not be used as a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other health care professional.
If you have any concerns about your condition or treatment, please ask your surgeon Mr Viswanathan. We are not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for ANY form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use (or misuse) of information contained in this page or found on web pages linked to from this page.