YAG Laser Capsulotomy For Posterior Capsule Opacification London

This is a quick and painless treatment to restore eyesight to how it was immediately after cataract surgery where the vision has become blurry due to misting of the capsular bag. The treatment is carried out while sitting at a machine similar to the clinic slit-lamp microscope. Local anaesthetic drops are used and there is no need to worry about blinking or keeping still.

YAG Laser Capsulotomy After Cataract Surgery

A YAG laser capsulotomy takes about 5 minutes per eye. The laser removes misting on the back of the intraocular lens (IOL) following laser cataract surgery. The misting is termed posterior capsule opacification (PCO), or “secondary cataract” and is relatively common with up to about 20% of patients who have had cataract surgery needing this simple procedure. The vast majority of people get an excellent improvement in their vision following laser without experiencing any issues. Serious side effects are very rare, occurring in less than 1 per 1000 procedures.

Video: YAG laser capsulotomy for a multifocal IOL. The membrane on the back of the lens is removed with each painless laser pulse.

Patient Testimonials

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a YAG Capsulotomy?

This is a straightforward outpatient laser treatment to remove any misting that has developed on the back of the intraocular lens implant after previous cataract surgery. The laser removes the membrane on the back of the lens that has become cloudy (posterior capsule opacification). Approximately 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 people undergo YAG laser capsulotomy in the first year or two after cataract surgery.

What Does The Treatment Involve?

A YAG capsulotomy is an out patient treatment and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It is carried out with you sitting at a microscope similar to the clinic slit lamp microscope, except it has a small laser attached. Dilating drops are given before the treatment so the cloudy membrane can be fully seen by the Ophthalmologist. A special contact lens is used during the treatment to help focus the laser light, the contact lens also keeps your eye open so you don’t need to worry about blinking.

Does YAG Capsulotomy Hurt?

There is no pain or discomfort. Local anaesthetic drops are given. You will just see a bright light from the microscope.

Does It Need To Be Repeated?

YAG capsulotomy usually only needs to be performed once per eye. Very occasionally a second treatment can be needed if part of the membrane was not fully removed at the first treatment. The membrane does not grow back again.

Is There Any Alternative To Having A YAG Laser Capsulotomy?

The cloudy membrane can be removed surgically, but this is a much higher risk procedure than if done by laser. It would be exceptionally rare for the membrane to need to be removed surgically rather than by laser.

If I Don’t Go Ahead, What Is The Risk?

Your vision will remain blurry and will likely continue to get more blurry as the membrane thickens.

What Complications Can Happen After YAG Laser Capsulotomy?

Serious complications are very rare, estimated to be less than 1 per 1000 procedures. Serious complications could include a retinal tear or detachment, or damage to the lens implant such that it needs replacing. Other unusual complications include macular oedema (swelling of the macular region, needing drops to resolve), or a significant change in prescription.

Most people will notice floaters in the vision for a week or so after treatment. Drops are given 4 times a day for a week after to reduce inflammation, and a drop given to help prevent any eye pressure rise immediately after treatment.

Who Will Perform The YAG Laser Capsulotomy?

Privately it will be performed by Mr Alex Day. If you are seen in the NHS, it is common for a YAG laser capsulotomy to be performed by a specially trained Optometrist or nurse instead of an Ophthalmologist.

What Happens After The Treatment?

You can go home immediately after the treatment. Your vision will usually be similar to, or better than it was before the treatment, however it will be soft focus until the dilating drops wear off over the next few hours. You can go back to normal daily activities almost immediately (driving is fine the next day providing you meet the DVLA vision requirements). You will be given eye drops to use for a week after the YAG capsulotomy.

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To arrange a consultation call my team at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital, 9-11 Bath Street, EC1V 9LF, London, or complete the contact form.

020 7100 5468