YAG Capsulotomy is the treatment for PCO (Posterior capsule opacification) – which is a common complication of cataract surgery.
PCO is a thickening of the back of the lens capsule, which holds your lens in place, and can cause you to experience problems with your vision.
Symptoms usually present over a period of time, so you may not notice them to begin with.
Our patients often think the cataract is returning or surgery wasn’t successful as the symptoms are similar to those of cataracts. But this is not the case – PCO is a completely different condition.
We’ve put together a journey map for our patients to show the stages from diagnosis through to treatment of PCO and what you can expect at each stage. You may be right at the beginning of your journey and not been diagnosed yet or somewhere in the middle and wondering what comes next. We hope you find this useful and that it answers some of your questions – please call us if you would like any more information about any of the stages or what to expect on your patient journey.
If you experienced good vision following your cataract surgery, but are starting to experience one or more of the symptoms above (usually after 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 examine your eyes and conduct a sight test to check the quality of your vision. The optician will be able to refer you to SpaMedica or another specialist, depending on what treatment you require.FIND YOUR LOCAL OPTICIAN
As you will know, as a previous cataract patient, you can choose the provider/hospital you would like to receive your treatment at. If you choose SpaMedica as your provider please let your optician know which of our hospitals is most convenient for you.
You will need to let your optician or GP know which healthcare provider and hospital you would like to go to and they will then send a referral to your chosen provider. You should hear back from your provider within two to three weeks following your referral.
Your chosen hospital/provider will contact you by phoning or sending a letter to book an appointment. Our SpaMedica Referrals team calls each of our patients within 2 to 3 days of us receiving your referral. We talk through the next steps with you, answer any questions you may have and you choose an appointment date to suit you.
You will receive written confirmation of your appointment date and information on the YAG Capsulotomy treatment. SpaMedica provides a comprehensive patient information booklet on YAG Capsulotomy, which includes what you can expect at each stage of your patient journey. You can download a copy of this booklet by clicking here.
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; so it’s important to make sure you organise a lift or arrange transport to/from the hospital. SpaMedica provides free transport for some patients, based on your location and other criteria – if you’re struggling to find transport please speak to a member of our Referrals team to see if you qualify for free transport.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about your treatment with the nurse and/or optometrist – 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.
So what will happen at this appointment?
The YAG Capsulotomy procedure is straightforward; there are no needles or eye clamps, the laser treatment takes about 30 seconds and you will be sat up for this, there is no need to lie down.
And here’s some detailed information about what to expect during your treatment appointment – 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.
It is usual for your vision to be blurred following the treatment, with the majority of patients seeing an improvement in their vision within 24 hours.
You may also experience floaters after the surgery and these should resolve within a few weeks.
You can go back to your normal daily activities the day following treatment, including driving.