YAG Laser Capsulotomy
At Peel Vision, we use the advanced TANGO TM SLT/YAG combination laser, from Ellex, a state-of-the-art laser using ultra-low energy levels, ensuring the highest levels of safety and precision.
When is YAG laser capsulotomy required?
During cataract surgery, the opacified natural lens of the eye (the cataract) is removed, and replaced with an intraocular lens implant. This implant is placed in the natural bag of the eye, the “capsule”, which holds the lens implant in place.
The lens implant will never become cloudy. However, in a small proportion of patients following cataract surgery, the capsule holding the lens implant may become opaque or “frosty” over time. This is called Posterior Capsular Opacification or PCO, and can occur anytime from a few weeks to a few years after cataract surgery. Patients will experience a gradual and constant blurring or haziness to their vision over time, which is not corrected with spectacles.
PCO is not preventable, but is very treatable with YAG laser capsulotomy. In this treatment, the YAG laser beam is precisely focused at the plane of the opacified posterior capsular material, and the heat of the laser is used to create a clear hole in the center of this cloudy bag. This will restore clear vision to the eye. The treatment is permanent, as the capsule will not become opaque again.
How is YAG laser capsulotomy performed?
YAG laser capsulotomy is performed in our clinic by Dr Then. It is a safe, fast and painless procedure, usually completed within a few minutes.
The pupil of the eye being treated is first dilated with drops, and then anaesthetized with local anaesthetic drops. The patient is comfortably seated in front of the laser. Their chin is placed on an adjustable chin rest in the laser machine, and a special contact lens is placed on eye to keep the eye open and focused during the laser therapy. During the therapy, the patient may see sparkling lights, but will not feel any pain. When the laser is completed, the contact lens is removed. Vision will be blurred for a few minutes, but will then rapidly improve. Patients will often notice the improvement in their vision within a few hours.
What are the risks?
YAG laser capsulotomy is generally considered a very safe procedure. It is very rare for it to cause permanent sight-threatening complications. Rare risks include retinal tears or detachment, macula edema and corneal edema; if these occur, they can usually be treated.
What happens after the laser?
You may experience “floaters” in your vision, which may appear as black or translucent spots/dots in your vision. These usually disappear within a few days after the laser.
Dr Then will usually recommend a mild topical anti-inflammatory drop to be applied to the treated eye for 5 days after the laser, and will review your eye in 1 week to ensure that your vision has improved.