The YAG laser is meant to remove the central zone of cloudy posterior capsule behind the intraocular lens. Sometimes after the cataract surgery, laser treatment is needed to permanently eliminate vision loss due to posterior capsule opacification.
A cataract has an outer coating and an inner nucleus. When an ophthalmologist performs cataract surgery, the surgeon makes a circular opening in the front facing capsule to remove the inner nucleus.
The remaining capsular envelope is meant to support the new artificial lens injected in. Over time, the capsule shrinks & wraps around the new lens just like the shrink wrap.
Since the capsule has live cells, some of those may develop a layer of new cells forming a frosting on the back surface that’s known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO).
This type of after-cataract might occur in 10% of patients after cataract surgery. That frosted layer can be considered as the frost on a window that blurs the view through the window, and the same happens through the new lens.
There’s no exact time as the PCO occur at any time after surgery including either a few weeks or months later.
In some of the cataract surgeries, an adherent plaque might be present on the capsule, and a surgeon might prefer to leave it rather than risk tearing the capsule. In such cases, it’s imperative to get the early treatment in order to clear the frosting.
Why YAG Laser Surgery?
The YAG laser surgery used to clear the frosting from the back surface. As confirmed by a huge number of patients, the YAG laser treatment is painless and is easily completed from outside the eye without taking too long.
During the treatment, your ophthalmologist will use a magnifying contact lens in order to aim the YAG laser at the frosted layer.
During the treatment, you’ll see flashes and hear a clicking sound. It’s all because the pupil has to be dilated before the YAG laser is performed to have a good view of the lens surface.
Once the treatment is complete, you’ll be prescribed a short course of anti-inflammatory along with some pressure drops.
You’ll start feeling the improved vision within a day like most other patients. Normally, YAG laser is needed once as the capsule doesn’t regrow after it’s vaporized by the YAG Laser.
The complications after YAG laser are very rare and few. Rarely, the complications include retinal swelling, raised eye pressure, vitreous floaters, lens damage and very retinal detachment.
Here’s what You Need to Know
It’s common to have a new floater in the eye after the surgery.
YAG laser posterior capsulotomy isn’t used or meant to prevent clouding of the back lining of the lens capsule (posterior capsule opacification). One just can’t determine who will get clouds in the back of the eye after undergoing the cataract surgery.
Notably, there’re some lenses used in the surgery to remove the cataract that can lower the risk and even the need for further laser surgery. Like with cataract surgery, it’s imperative to weigh the risks as well as possible benefits of laser capsulotomy before planning to undergo surgery.