Posterior capsule opacity following cataract surgery is now easily treatable at Exeter Eye with a fast and painless procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy.
In a cataract operation, the cloudy lens from your eye (the cataract) is replaced with an artificial lens. In about ten percent of cataract surgery patients, the thin membrane behind the lens (called the posterior capsule) can become hazy. This causes blurred vision, much like a cataract; which is why posterior capsule opacity is often called a ‘secondary cataract’.
A YAG laser capsulotomy procedure is extremely fast, simple and effective. It can be performed in the consulting room, so there is no need for you to go into surgery and it is completely painless too.
Before the procedure, your experienced eye surgeon may need to put drops in your eye to dilate your pupils. A specialised YAG laser is then used to make a small hole in the posterior capsule (the membrane behind the lens of your eye) removing the posterior capsule opacity or ‘haziness’. This only takes a few minutes and is completely painless.
When you had your cataract and lens implant surgery, an Intraocular lens (or IOL) was implanted within the lens capsule. The lens capsule is a thin, elastic, and transparent envelope inside your eye, that once held your natural lens – and now holds the IOL in place.
Within a few weeks after lens implant surgery, the capsule shrinks and seals itself to the IOL which is what holds it firmly in place. As time goes by, the capsule may become cloudy. This often occurs sooner with premium IOLs, but patients with any IOL may develop it as well. This is not a cataract “coming back”, but a very common side-effect following lens replacement. The typical solution is a YAG laser capsulotomy.
The YAG laser will make an opening in the centre of the posterior capsule about the size of your pupil, creating a clear visual pathway. This procedure is usually not done at the time of lens implant surgery because it could interfere with the implant’s position. Once the YAG procedure has been performed, you should see a very quick improvement in your overall vision.
Fortunately, this is a one-time event and extremely unlikely to ever need to be repeated in the future.
After the procedure you should not feel any discomfort; although you will be given anti-inflammatory eye drops to use for a few days. You will be able to go home immediately and should be able to resume normal activities straight away.
It is quite common for patients to notice an immediate improvement after their YAG laser capsulotomy treatment, and you should expect your vision to improve within a day.
There is a chance that you may have some ‘floaters’ in your vision for a few weeks afterwards, but serious side effects with YAG laser capsulotomy are very rare.
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Exeter Eye is a specialist ophthalmic eye clinic treating all eye conditions and offering the very best in patient care and comfort. We always ensure we fully understand your condition and lifestyle before identifying your treatment options and then help you choose the best one for you.