What is a YAG capsulotomy?

Cataract surgery involves the removal of a cloudy natural lens inside the eye and the replacement of an artificial one. The natural lens has several layers, and all of these are removed during surgery except for the very back layer, known as the posterior capsule. The posterior capsule is important because it will hold the new lens implant in place after the surgery while the eye heals.

It is common for the thin-layered posterior capsule to eventually become a little cloudy, causing symptoms similar to a cataract such as glare at night or the vision being less clear than it was right after surgery. This process usually takes several years but can happen sooner after surgery.

The solution to this problem is simple. A laser treatment called a YAG capsulotomy involves the use of a laser to create an opening in the cloudy capsule. A YAG capsulotomy is an outpatient procedure that takes fewer than 3 minutes to complete. There is no pain and no incision. However, since the eye must be dilated, the process to completion is about an hour. This treatment is safe and requires no stitches, needles or incisions, and vision is usually improved by the next morning.

During a YAG capsulotomy, the patient’s pupil is dilated with drops. The patient sits upright comfortably while the laser treatment is implemented. The patient will see flashes of light and hear a faint clicking sound as the laser works. They should feel no pain during treatment.

After treatment, the patient will be back to normal in 2-3 hours with no restrictions. The patient can drive to and from the appointment, as there is no sedation.

There is a minimal risk to the eye following a YAG capsulotomy. Complication rates following this procedure is less than 1%, but patients will likely see an increased amount of floaters in their eye for a few days or weeks.

To make an appointment or to learn more about cataract surgery or YAG capsulotomy at Tower Clock Eye Center, please call (920) 499-3102.

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