YAG Laser Capsulotomy

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Introduction

A central opening made with the YAG laser in an eye with an opacified posterior capsule

A central opening made with the YAG laser in an eye with an opacified posterior capsule


Following cataract surgery approximately 1 in 20 patients develop clouding of the ‘posterior capsule’, the thin membrane that surrounded the cataractous lens prior to its removal.

The cloudy change in this membrane is known as ‘posterior capsule opacification’ or sometimes as ‘secondary cataract’.

Capsule opacification causes blurred vision which cannot be corrected with glasses.

The YAG laser is used to cut a tiny opening in the cloudy capsule, restoring vision. This process is known as a ‘YAG capsulotomy’.

Preparing for YAG laser

You will be given a small, single-use, vial of eyedrops labelled ‘CYC 1.0’, containing the drug cyclopentolate. This drug dilates the pupil in preparation for the laser.

Instil a single drop from this vial at least 20 minutes prior to your appointment for laser.

You have also been given a prescription for a steroid eye drop called Maxidex. This anti-inflammatory drug will be used 4 times a day for a week after the laser procedure.

Please get the Maxidex drops from your chemist prior to your laser appointment.

The laser treatment

The YAG laser being used to create an opening in the posterior capsule

The YAG laser being used to create an opening in the posterior capsule


Dr McKellar will anaesthetise your eye with eyedrops. The laser is invisible. Apart from some gentle manipulation of the eyelids the procedure is painless. The laser treatment takes about 5 minutes.

After your laser treatment

You may notice small floaters in your vision on the day of laser. It will take about 24 hours for your vision to improve.

Dr McKellar will examine your eye one week after laser. Please notify him immediately if:

  • Your central vision does not improve or gets worse
  • You lose peripheral (round about) vision
  • You develop a large floater or flashing lights

Risks

YAG capsulotomy is a very safe procedure. Approximately 1 in 200 patients will develop swelling of the retina or a retinal hole.