When your cataract was removed from your eye, a thin clear ‘capsule’ was left behind to support your new artificial lens. In about 20% of patients, this membrane becomes cloudy, making it difficult to see clearly. This is sometimes known as a secondary cataract.
This secondary cataract can be treated using a YAG laser in a procedure known as laser capsulotomy. The YAG laser uses a highly concentrated beam of light to make a hole in the centre of the membrane, so restoring the vision to how it was following the initial cataract surgery.
The operation is usually carried out as day surgery so you’ll be able to return home on the day of the operation, although you won’t be able to drive yourself.
Drops will be put in your eye to enlarge the pupil and numb the eye to prevent any discomfort. When these have taken effect, you’ll be seated at a microscope, similar to the type the doctor uses to check your eyes.
During the procedure you can blink as normal with your other eye. You may see bright flashes of light and you’ll hear clicking noises while the laser is being used, but you won’t experience any pain.
The YAG laser treatment will take around five minutes.
Immediately following YAG laser treatment you may feel dazzled for a few hours while the drops to dilate your pupils wear off. This can blur your vision so you won’t be able to drive for the rest of the day.
We’ll discuss your aftercare and any follow-up appointments with you before you leave hospital. You may be given some eye-drops to take.
For up to eight weeks after treatment you may notice small black specks (floaters) in the vision of the treated eye; these should gradually decrease and disappear over this period.
The benefit of laser capsulotomy treatment is that vision will be restored to what it was after the initial cataract surgery.
Complications are rare and, in most cases, can be treated effectively.
A detached retina (a tear in the retina) is an uncommon complication, but can occur several years after the treatment. Symptoms of retinal detachment include a blurring of vision and a dark shadow spreading over your sight. This is a serious condition and, if you think you have this condition, you should see your doctor immediately.
There are no alternatives to this procedure.