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Posterior capsule opacification

We talk about the condition, the cause and the treatment available to improve your vision

Eye problems after cataract surgery are rare but can occur. In some cases, a posterior capsule opacification (also called posterior capsule opacity or PCO), can occur.

In a cataract operation, the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear, artificial lens implant. But in some cases, a hazy membrane can form just behind this artificial lens implant. This complication is a condition known as posterior capsule opacity. Although it is sometimes called a ‘secondary cataract’, you cannot develop another cataract after cataract surgery.

The symptoms of posterior capsule opacification are similar to those for a cataract. These include:

  • Blurred vision;
  • Hazy or cloudy vision;
  • Bright glares or halos around lights;
  • Double vision and
  • Reduced visual focus.

If you have recently had cataract surgery, and are experiencing symptoms of PCO, you should make an appointment to see an optometrist or GP as soon as possible.

A laser procedure known as YAG laser capsulotomy can quickly improve your vision if posterior capsule opacification has occurred after cataract surgery. This procedure can be carried out safely, effectively and painlessly.

During YAG laser treatment, eye drops are used to dilate your pupil, and a local anaesthetic is used to numb the area. A special contact lens is put into your eye, and the ophthalmologist uses a laser beam to make a small hole in the thickened membrane.

YAG laser treatment is the only way to improve your vision if you are experiencing PCO. The only alternative is to not have the surgery.

We can arrange a private clinical appointment for you to visit a leading Consultant ophthalmologist who specialises in YAG laser capsulotomy using the latest technology. They can assess your individual condition and advise you whether this procedure would be appropriate for you.

YAG laser capsulotomy is an outpatient treatment, meaning you will not have to stay overnight in hospital. It only takes around five to ten minutes to complete. Usually one treatment is sufficient, but occasionally a second session is needed.

Your vision will be blurry for three to four hours afterwards but should return normal soon. You may be prescribed eye drops to use at home.

It’s rare to have any complications or serious side effects after a YAG laser capsulotomy. There is a very small risk of increased pressure in the eye, a build-up of fluid or retinal detachment.

It’s also possible that the opening made will be too small or incomplete. In these cases, you will probably need a second treatment.

Our 500 trusted eye care experts offer personalised care at over 40 Circle Health centres across the UK.

Our experts in affordable eye care offer fast access to treatment in a safe and comfortable environment.

Your bespoke PCO treatment will provide the best possible outcome, along with excellent value for money, to help improve your quality of life.

What you pay will depend on the exact treatment you need. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation.

Specialists offering Posterior capsule opacification

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Mr Jamil Hakim

Consultant Ophthalmologist

BSc (Hons), FRCS, FRCOphth, DO

The Blackheath Hospital 1 more The Sloane Hospital

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Mr Miles Parnell

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MBBS, BSc, Msc, FRCOphth

The Blackheath Hospital 1 more The Sloane Hospital

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Mr Aires Lobo

Consultant Ophthalmologist


The Cavell Hospital 3 more Hendon Hospital The Kings Oak Hospital The Manor Hospital

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Mr Mike Adams

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth PGDipCRS

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

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Mr Sat Jalpota

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MBBS. DO (Dublin), FRCS (Edinburgh), Cert LRS (London)

Three Shires Hospital

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