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YAG Laser Capsulotomy After Cataract Surgery

Surgery Overview

YAG laser capsulotomy is surgery to help you see clearly after cataract surgery. You may need this surgery because months or years after cataract surgery, your vision may get fuzzy again. This happens when a membrane in your eye, called the posterior capsule, becomes cloudy. This is sometimes called a "secondary cataract."

What To Expect

You may have to wait in the outpatient surgery area or the doctor's office for 1 to 2 hours. This is so the doctor can check for pressure in your eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP).

It will take a few days to see as clearly as possible. You shouldn't have pain. You should be able to return to work or your normal routine the day after surgery.

It is common to see spots or floaters for a few weeks after surgery.

Why It Is Done

After cataract surgery, some people notice cloudiness (sometimes called aftercataract) after several months or years. In some people, it can become very dense and cause as much or more vision loss as the original cataract.

The decision to have this procedure is based on the same things as the decision to have the original cataract surgery. You may have the procedure if:

  • Vision problems are affecting your work or lifestyle.
  • Glare caused by bright lights is a problem.
  • You have another vision-threatening eye disease.

You don't need the procedure unless vision loss caused by clouding of the lens capsule is seriously affecting your vision and lifestyle.

How Well It Works

The procedure reduces glare and improves vision. It lets light pass through a new opening or "window" in the cloudy lens capsule that may form after cataract surgery.

Risks

The most common complication of the procedure is short-term increased pressure inside the eye. You may need to use eyedrops to lower the eye pressure.

Other risks include:

  • Detachment of the nerve layer at the back of the eye (retinal detachment).
  • Swelling of the center of the retina (macular edema).
  • Damage or displacement of the intraocular lens.
  • Bleeding into the front of the eye.
  • Swelling of the clear covering of the eye (corneal edema).

Credits

Current as of: April 29, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine