If you experienced good vision following your cataract surgery, but you’re starting to experience one or more of the symptoms of PCO (usually about three months or more after surgery) then you need to get your eyes checked as soon as possible by your local optician, who will assess your general eye health and conduct a sight test to check the quality of your vision. If a diagnosis of PCO is confirmed and you meet the referral criteria for treatment, your optician will be able to refer you to a treatment provider like SpaMedica, who will carry out your YAG laser capsulotomy free of charge.
As with your cataract surgery, if you live in England, you can choose where to receive your treatment. Just let your optician know which treatment provider you’d like to go to, and then they will send a referral to your chosen provider. If you choose SpaMedica as your provider, please let your optician know which of our hospitals is most convenient for you. You should hear back from your provider within two to three weeks following your referral.
While patients in England are currently able to choose where to have their YAG laser treatment, if you live in Wales, your Local Health Board will make that decision for you. You can find details of your Local Health Board on the NHS Wales website. As all NHS Wales referrals are managed by your Local Health Board, SpaMedica is unfortunately unable to accept direct referrals for treatment from your optician or GP.
Your chosen hospital/provider will contact you by phone or letter to book an appointment. Our SpaMedica referrals team calls each of our patients within 2 to 3 days of receiving your referral. We’ll talk through the next steps with you, answer any questions you may have, and you can choose an appointment date to suit you.
The purpose of your first appointment at the hospital is to run a thorough check on your eyes to confirm that YAG Capsulotomy is the best treatment for you. Several eye tests will be conducted, with your appointment lasting about 1 to 1.5 hours (which includes about 30 to 40 minutes to allow your pupils to dilate – see ‘part 4’ below).
Dilating the eyes causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light, so you won’t be able to drive, and it’s important to make sure you organise a lift or arrange transport to/from the hospital.
Please feel free to ask the nurse or your optometrist any questions you may have about your treatment– see ‘steps 7 and 8’ below.
You’ll need to bring your current glasses, a list of your current medications, record book (if you’re diabetic or taking Warfarin) and a contact number of a relative/friend. If you wear contact lenses, these should be removed just before your appointment.
As someone who’s already been through cataract surgery, hopefully you’ll be less anxious about your YAG laser capsulotomy, which will be over and done with before you know it! There are no needles or eye clamps, the laser treatment takes about 30 seconds, and this time you will be sat up for the duration – there’s no need to lie down. Here’s some more advice and recommendations for treatment:
All the SpaMedica team are here to support you, make you feel at ease and make your time with us as stress-free as possible.
1. Welcome – You will receive a big smile and warm welcome from our friendly reception team. They will check you in and take you through to the patient waiting area. You will be offered complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits and if you’ve brought someone with you to your appointment, they’re free to help themselves too.
2. Arranging pick up – If someone isn’t already waiting for you in our reception area, our reception team will ask for the contact details of the person who will be picking you up after your treatment and we will give them a ring when you’re ready to go home.
3. Pre-treatment – One of the nurses will call you through to the pre-treatment room and pop some drops into your eye to dilate your pupil.
4. Clinic reception – We’ll ask you to wait in the clinic reception while we’re waiting for your pupils to dilate, which usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Your treatment:
6. Time to go home – we’ll call the contact you gave us to organise a lift home, if they’re not already waiting for you in the reception area.
YAG Capsulotomy is the recommended treatment for PCO (Posterior capsule opacification) – which is a common complication following cataract surgery and is available for NHS patients.
There are lots of wonderful organisations and charities who can support you with any eye health issues.
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