YAG laser capsulotomy

Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) is a common post-operative complication of cataract surgery, which can develop months or even years after surgery. It occurs when the lens capsule – which holds the lens in place – starts to thicken, which can make it more difficult for light to reach the back of the eye. 

PCO causes symptoms similar to cataracts, but don’t worry – your cataract isn’t coming back!   

PCO is treated through a procedure known as YAG Laser Capsulotomy. YAG Laser Capsulotomy provides a permanent solution to PCO, so you’ll only need one treatment in each affected eye. Better yet, the treatment itself only lasts for 30-60 seconds and is delivered through a rapid burst of laser to the centre of your pupil. You’ll recover in no time and it’s unlikely you’ll experience any issues afterwards. 

Whether you’re a patient in need of YAG Capsulotomy, or a relative/family friend looking for more information about the procedure, our YAG Patient Journey provides a step-by-step guide to every stage of treatment, so you know exactly what to expect along the way.    

A SpaMedica nurse checking the eye fluid pressure of a SpaMedica patient using a Tonometer

Causes and symptoms

YAG Laser Capsulotomy is used to treat a condition called Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO), which is a common complication of cataract surgery.  

The posterior capsule is the fine membrane behind the lens of the eye. This capsule is left in the eye after cataract surgery to support your artificial lens implant. 

In approximately 10% of cataract patients, the transparent membrane can start to thicken. Research hasn’t shown conclusively why this happens, although PCO is more prevalent in younger cataract patients and patients with glaucoma and diabetes. 

Delighted SpaMedica patient talking to a SpaMedica employee in diagnostics room

The thickening can occur months or even years after surgery and symptoms usually develop gradually over a period of time, so you may not even notice them to begin with. However, PCO will cause your vision to get progressively worse and you’ll begin to experience similar symptoms to cataracts, including: 

  • Cloudy/blurred vision  
  • Glare/flare around lights   
  • Reduced ability to focus 

As a result of this, our patients often think their cataract is returning, but that’s not the case – PCO is a completely different condition.  

If PCO is affecting your vision and quality of life, you’ll need to have a procedure known as YAG laser capsulotomy, which will restore your vision to how it was after the original cataract surgery. 

YAG capsulotomy is a safe, non-invasive procedure, and serious complications are rare. 

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