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After cataract surgery there are some circumstances where patient’s vision can become blurred over time. One of the causes for this can be the development of a condition called Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO). This is where the back or rear surface of the capsule that the synthetic IOL implanted during cataract surgery becomes frosted or opacified.
In cases where PCO develops, a simple secondary procedure, known as a YAG laser procedure, is required to restore sight to the level of vision achieved after the initial cataract surgery. This blurring in vision due to PCO can occur in around 1 in 10 patients treated and can occur any time between a few months and several years after the initial surgery.
YAG laser treatment can also be used to treat some forms of acute angle-closure glaucoma, where the laser is therapeutically applied to the iris to allow the internal fluid to flow more freely and naturally.
YAG laser capsulotomy is a straightforward laser procedure required for patients who experience a common condition after cataract surgery called posterior capsular opacification (PCO). This is where the capsule in the eye which the artificial lens was implanted into thickens, frosts or opacifies, causing vision to appear hazy. In some cases, patients may mistake this in thinking that their cataract has come back as vision appears cloudy once again.
However, these symptoms are easily remedied with YAG laser capsulotomy treatment which creates an opening in the capsule, allowing light to once again pass through to the retina at the back of the eye, restoring clarity of vision.
An ophthalmologist or optometrist will firstly undertake a detailed examination of your eye, utilising a high powered magnification technology, known as a slit lamp. You may have eye drops instilled that dilate your pupil and support the clinician’s assessment. The clinician will confirm the presence, or otherwise of PCO and make a treatment recommendation.
When you attend for your appointment you will be seen by an experienced ACES clinician who will confirm that your eye is suitable for treatment. You will have the opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns at this stage.
We will most likely put drops in your eye to dilate your pupil. This lets us get a good view of the foggy capsule and the back of the eye. They take 15 minutes to take effect.
We will position you at the laser. We will most likely then put in anaesthetic eye drops to make the procedure comfortable.
We may put a contact lens on the eye to support the performing of the procedure. The laser takes about 5 – 10 minutes.
At the end of the procedure more drops are put in the eye to help stabilise the pressure and stop the eye becoming inflamed. You can then go home.
Your vision may be a little hazy for a number of hours after the treatment so it is advised not to drive until it clears. Eye drops may be given to you after the treatment, so make sure you understand which drops you should be using and how frequently to put them in before you leave the clinic. You will be with us for about 60 minutes in total.
If you have had cataract surgery and have started to notice a change in your vision, it is important that you are assessed by an optometrist as soon as possible. Your optometrist will be able to assess your eye sight and confirm if you are suffering from PCO. They will then be able to refer you to ACES for further assessment by one of our expert ophthalmologists who will recommend a suitable treatment plan.