YAG capsulotomy is a laser procedure performed with a specialised laser called a YAG laser. It is used to treat patients who have previously undergone cataract surgery in whom the vision has become blurred because of thickening and opacification of the posterior capsule of the lens. This is a common complication of cataract surgery, though may not develop until some years after the cataract operation.
During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a plastic lens, which is supported by the natural envelope surrounding the lens, known as the capsule. Over time, the capsule can thicken and become opaque, interrupting the entry of light. When this happens, you may experience a gradual reduction in vision. Posterior capsular thickening can happen any time after your cataract operation from a few months to many years. YAG capsulotomy is performed to restore your vision to how it was after the cataract operation.
YAG capsulotomy is performed under local anaesthesia, using eyedrops. To keep the eye open and focus the laser beam, a special contact lens is placed on the eye. Your doctor then uses the YAG laser beam to create a small opening in the clouded capsule, in order to provide a clear path through which light can pass. You will hear clicking noises and experience bright lights during the process. The whole procedure takes approximately 5 minutes and is completely painless.
In the days following your YAG capsulotomy procedure, you may become aware of some new floaters in your visual field, small shapes or shadows which move. These are due to remnants of the cloudy capsule floating in the vitreous cavity, and generally disappear within a few days of the procedure.