What is YAG laser capsulotomy?
Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens caused by cataracts and replacing it with an artificial one to improve your vision. The lens sits on a membrane known as the lens capsule. Sometimes, people can develop haze in this lens capsule after their surgery which can make it difficult to see. It might feel like your cataract is coming back or that you’re looking through frosty glass. This is quite a common complication known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO) and can be treated with this quick procedure.
YAG laser capsulotomy involves using a laser to create a tiny opening in the middle of the cloudy capsule behind the lens implant. This helps light to pass through to the retina at the back of your eye, which restores your clear vision.
Learn more about YAG laser capsulotomy treatment with Usman Hussain, consultant ophthalmologist and partner at Newmedica Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.
What are the benefits of YAG laser capsulotomy?
The most obvious benefit of having YAG laser capsulotomy is that it will make your vision clearer again. Plus, you won’t ever need to have this procedure again as one treatment is usually all it takes to get back to enjoying your normal vision.
What happens during YAG laser capsulotomy?
You’ll be in the clinic for around an hour on the day of your procedure. Before that, one of the team will measure your eyesight and add some dilating eye drops. Then your consultant will run through some checks and talk you through everything you need to know.
Your consultant will ask you to get comfortable in a chair and they might put a contact lens on your eye, which helps to focus the laser beam. They’ll ask you to rest your chin in front of the laser machine (known as a slit lamp) to help keep your head still.
You won’t feel any pain during this procedure, and it should only take about five minutes.
The eye drops we use before your procedure temporarily dilate your pupils, which can make your vision quite blurry and sensitive to light – so it’s best to get someone to take you home afterwards, as you won’t be able to drive straight away. But once you’re all done, you’re free to go home.
A lot of people notice an improvement in their vision as early as the next day, but that can depend on how cloudy your vision was beforehand.
What is the recovery process after YAG laser capsulotomy?
It usually takes a couple of days to fully notice an improvement and recover from the procedure. Your consultant might prescribe you some eye drops to use for a few days after your treatment. A member of the team will explain everything you need to know about how and when to use them.
What are the possible complications?
Complications from this type of treatment are very uncommon, but the chances of any problems developing tends to depend on the overall health of your eye, as well as other factors like your general health. Your consultant will explain any potential issues in greater detail before your treatment.
What is YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?
Laser peripheral iridotomy is used to treat or prevent a specific type of glaucoma or narrow angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can cause a sudden build-up of pressure in the eye which could affect your sight.
With this treatment, your consultant uses a laser to create a tiny opening in the outer part of iris (the coloured part of the eye) to allow the fluid to move more freely within the eye – lowering the pressure and helping to protect your eyesight. Our trained optometrists may also carry out this type of laser and it’s very safe.
Who might need YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?
Acute angle-closure glaucoma develops when the fluid inside your eye can’t drain properly or gets blocked on its way out, causing the pressure inside the eye to rapidly rise. So if you have this type of glaucoma, or are at risk of it, your consultant will recommend this treatment as soon as possible to prevent any permanent changes to your vision.
What are the benefits of YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?
The overall benefit of YAG laser peripheral iridotomy is to protect your eyes from any risk of high pressure and lasting changes to your eyesight.
What happens during YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?
The procedure only takes about 15 minutes to treat both eyes, but you’ll be in the clinic for just over an hour so we can carry out all the necessary checks.
Before your treatment, your consultant will talk you through what’ll happen in the procedure to make sure you’re completely happy. A few minutes before the procedure, you’ll have some anaesthetic eye drops put in to gently numb the surface of your eye, so you won’t feel a thing.
Your consultant will ask you to get comfortable in a chair and will put a contact lens on your eye which just helps to focus the laser beam. They’ll ask you to rest your chin in front of the machine to help keep your eye nice and still.
After the procedure is all done, your consultant might add some more eye drops onto your eye and they’ll check your eye pressure again about an hour after treatment. They might prescribe you some medication for a few days after to prevent any inflammation and a rise in pressure in the treated eye. We’ll talk you through everything before you leave us, then you’ll be free to go home.
You might notice that your vision is affected slightly to begin with, but you shouldn’t have any discomfort. Because your vision might be blurry, it’s best to arrange for someone to take you home, but you’ll be able to drive again once your vison has returned to normal.
What is the recovery process after YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?
There isn’t really a recovery period with this type of treatment – you’ll be able to carry on with all your normal activities straight away (except driving if your vision is still blurred).
What are the possible complications?
Complications are uncommon, but there is a risk of a rise in pressure and inflammation in the eye just after treatment. That’s why your consultant might want to check your eye pressure again before you go home. They’ll go through all of this with you in detail to make sure you’re comfortable before you go ahead with the treatment.
How do I get referred?
Your optician or GP will discuss the various treatment options available to you and where you can choose to have your treatment. You’ll be able to take the time to decide where you’d like to be treated, and your GP or optician will make the arrangements for your referral to Newmedica.
If you’d prefer to go the private route, you can get in touch with us directly. If you have private medical insurance, they might want some more information before you make your claim. You can find all the details on our private referral page.
Find your nearest clinic
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Getting referred to Newmedica
If you think you have an eye condition, you should see your optician or GP for a detailed assessment. They’ll go through all the options available and tell you where you can have your treatment.
The referral process will differ slightly depending on whether you want to be an NHS or private patient. You’ll find all the information you need on our NHS and private patient pages.
Are you a health care professional?
Find out how to refer a patient.