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YAG laser capsulotomy

If you have PCO after cataract surgery, you might need YAG laser treatment. Find out more about the surgery here.

YAG laser capsulotomy is a laser procedure that can quickly restore vision following posterior capsule opacification.

The treatment’s full name is Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) laser capsulotomy. It is a very safe treatment and is very common.

During cataract removal, the cloudy, natural lens in your eye is replaced with a clear, artificial lens. But in some cases, a hazy membrane can form just behind this artificial lens implant, in the bag (also known as the lens capsule) where it was placed. This affects the light coming through to the back of the eye. This condition is known as posterior capsule opacity, or PCO. It usually occurs a few years after cataract surgery.

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

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

PCO is not dangerous, but it does affect your sight. YAG laser capsulotomy is a fast and easy way of improving these symptoms and restoring your sight. There is no other treatment for PCO other than YAG laser capsulotomy, and the condition will not improve by itself.

At BMI Healthcare, our specialist Consultants offer fast diagnosis and will create a bespoke treatment plan based on your individual needs.

During YAG laser treatment, eyedrops are used to dilate your pupil, and a local anaesthetic is used to numb the area so you will not feel anything during the treatment.   

A special contact lens is put into your eye and you will sit in a chair, resting your head against a frame. The surgeon then uses a laser beam to make a small hole in the membrane. This will allow light to pass through and enable you to see better.   

YAG laser capsulotomy is a quick and easy outpatient treatment that only takes around 20 minutes to complete. You will need to wait at the hospital until the doctor has checked your eyes and given you the all-clear to leave.   

Usually one treatment is sufficient, but occasionally a second session is needed. 

Your vision will be blurry for three to four hours after YAG laser treatment, but it should return normal quickly.  You won’t be able to drive for the rest of the day, so make sure you arrange transport to get home after the procedure.    

You should be able to continue with many of your daily activities almost immediately. Some itchiness and mild discomfort are normal, and can be treated at home with painkillers. You might experience floaters in your eye for around a week, along with some sensitivity to bright light.   

You might be prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops to use at home. You probably won’t have to use them for longer than a week. You will be able to visit your optician around two weeks later if you need new glasses.   

You should rubbing your eyes, wearing eye make-up and swimming for around a fortnight, and should not resume playing contact sports for around four weeks.   

It’s rare to have any serious complications after a YAG laser capsulotomy. Sometimes there is an increase in eye pressure, which can be treated before you leave the hospital.   

There is a very small risk of a build-up of fluid in the macula, part of the retina. This can distort your sight. There is also a very small risk of the retinal detachment. If you experience flashing lights, extreme pain or loss of vision following a YAG laser capsulotomy, you should seek medical assistance immediately.   

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

Our 500 trusted eyecare experts offer personalised care at over 40 BMI Healthcare centres across the UK.    

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

Your bespoke YAG laser capsulotomy 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 YAG laser capsulotomy

Dr Christopher Michael Scott

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB ChB (Edin)  FRCOphth

Albyn Hospital

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Mrs Dalia Said

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MB BCh, MD (Ophth), MSc (Ophth), FRCS (Glasgow)

The Park Hospital

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Mr Vinod Gangwani

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

FRCS, MRCOphth, MS

The Runnymede Hospital 1 more Syon Clinic

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Mr Nimish Shah

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

FRCS, MRCOphth, MRCSEd, MS(Ophth), MBBS

The Ridgeway Hospital

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Ms Sally Ameen

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MBBS, BSC, FRCOphth

The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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Mr Gavin Walters

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MBChB BSc MRCP FRCOphth

The Duchy Hospital

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