What is YAG laser Capsulotomy?
YAG laser Capsulotomy (or Yttrium Aluminum Garnet laser Capsulotomy) is a non-invasive laser procedure used to treat Posterior capsular opacification (PCO) after cataract surgery.
Posterior capsular opacification (PCO) is a common occurrence after cataract surgery (approximately 1 in 4), with the duration of its occurrence varying from person to person. On average, PCO can occur between 3months to 5 years post-cataract surgery. Laser treatment after cataract surgery is usually required when vision loss due to PCO starts impacting your day-to-day life. YAG laser eye surgery is performed under topical anesthesia (anaesthetic eye drops) by an ophthalmologist and is a relatively short procedure that takes about 5-10 minutes.
Why do you need YAG laser treatment after cataract surgery?
The lens of our eye is enclosed inside a capsular membrane. When the lens starts getting opacified with age or other conditions leading to cataracts, the ophthalmologist removes the cataract surgically, leaving the back layer of the capsule intact. The capsular membrane is important because it ensures the new artificial lens sits in the same natural anatomic place of your natural lens that had become cloudy (cataract).
In some eyes after cataract surgery, the capsular membrane can become opacified, leading to progressively cloudy vision. This is called posterior capsular opacification, or PCO.
If PCO is significant, YAG laser eye surgery is often recommended by eye doctors. However, whether you need laser treatment after cataract surgery or not can only be ascertained after some preliminary round of tests by your eye doctor.
Indicative symptoms for YAG laser eye surgery
Prior to YAG laser eye surgery, posterior capsular opacification may present as blurred vision, halos around light, double vision in one eye, problematic night vision (e.g. glare), etc.
Doctors may also advise you for a YAG procedure if your quality of life is not improving with glasses because of the effect of opacification. Sometimes, blurred vision causes more problems when the operated eye is the only good eye of the patient. Therefore, timely laser of the opacification becomes more important to preserve the vision of the functioning eye. If you are facing any of these symptoms, it’s time to consult a good clinic in London to start the treatment immediately.
After the YAG procedure, you may experience symptoms of floaters, i.e., black or sometimes transparent spots floating in your vision. These symptoms tend to settle over the coming days or weeks. The risk of significant complications leading to vision loss is rare.
An eligible candidate for YAG laser eye surgery
- Eye has had cataract removed and replaced with an Intraocular Lens.
- There is cloudiness behind the lens leading to reduced vision.
- An eye examination is performed to ensure there are no other causes of reduced vision.
- Must be willing to follow the pre-operative and post-operative advice of the ophthalmologist along with complying with eye drops and follow up appointments.
If you want to know your eligibility for YAG laser eye surgery, consult one of the experts from Harley Vision, London, today.
Preparing for your YAG laser eye surgery
The preparation for the Yag laser eye surgery starts with history taking. The surgeon will initially take a history assessment of your condition. He might ask you questions about the date of your cataract or lens replacement surgery, medical details about the type of the intraocular lens (IOL) placed in your eye, the visual problems (if any), systemic conditions, and any previous complications. These questions will help him ascertain whether you need laser treatment after cataract surgery or not. It is important during this time to fully inform your surgeon about your allergic conditions, drug sensitivity issues, and any history of medical issues that may be pertinent to your eye condition before you undergo the YAG laser procedure in London.
This is followed by a visual examination of both your eyes and an assessment of your spectacles prescription (if any). The visual acuity or the visual assessment is done for each eye separately. Irrespective of the clinic you choose in London, a thorough slit lamp examination of the anterior segment of the eye first on its own and then after dilatation of the eye is a part of the pre YAG laser eye surgery; the reason being to assess any ocular anterior segment anomalies like scarring in cornea, tilting of the IOL or any inflammatory conditions that need prior treatment before proceeding towards the YAG Capsulotomy.
After dilating your pupils, the position of the IOL is assessed thoroughly in the slit lamp examination, along with the extent of opacification. This is important for the YAG procedure as it helps the surgeon in deciding the number of laser pulses required for the PCO. A fundus evaluation helps determine the health of the retina and optic discs. High-definition OCT scans are often performed to look for any subclinical retinal or optic nerve pathologies. In either case, it helps decide the visual outcome after YAG laser procedure.
Usually, your cataract surgery documents are enough to give the surgeon an idea about your A.scan and other pertinent diagnostic evaluations. But sometimes, when the PCO is exceptionally dense, making it difficult to assess the retina behind it, it becomes important to perform a high-definition ultrasound scan (B-Scan) to have an overall idea about the general health of the back of the eye before proceeding forward for laser treatment after cataract surgery.
Irrespective of the clinic you go for in London, the YAG procedure starts with topical anesthetic eye drops being instilled in the eye. You will sit on a special laser machine followed by an adjustment of your head along with the headrest and chinrest of the machine. This may sound like a trivial matter, but proper positioning will enable the optimum application of the laser pulses during the procedure. YAG laser is an outpatient procedure that requires almost no prepping except for the drops instillation and hands sterilization before the treatment. The laser itself takes about 5 to 10 minutes, during which the beams will be accurately applied to the cloudy capsule behind the IOL. After completion of the laser, eye drops may need to be instilled in your eyes.
Some patients may worry about pain during or after YAG laser treatment, but both the procedure and recovery period should be painless. You are advised to talk to an experienced eye surgeon in London to understand how painless the process is.
How does YAG Laser Capsulotomy Works?
In posterior YAG Capsulotomy, multiple pulses of laser beams are accurately focused on the microscopic cloudy lens capsule behind the intraocular lens. YAG laser or Yttrium laser is a solid-state laser that uses a wavelength of 1064nm of light in multiple short pulses to achieve its effect. Laser beams applied on the cloudy capsule cause shock waves or acoustic waves across the surface of the capsule that disrupts the tissue and leads to clearing of the cloudy area.
Directing the laser beams in a synchronized manner over the area of the lens capsule affected by tissue fibrosis gradually leads to the complete elimination of the tissue. The end result is a crystal clear visual pathway and regained vision of the patient. However, given the complex nature of the procedure, it is imperative to have an expert doctor who has wide years of experience in performing laser treatment after cataract surgery with ease. In this regard, Harley Vision, London, has the expertise you need to perform this type of laser.
YAG capsulotomy aftercare
After you go through Yag laser capsulotomy, there should be no pain. There may be minimal to no discomfort. The vision is typically blurry for a couple of hours because of the eye drops used to dilate your pupils. There will be a bit of discomfort on exposure to sun or bright light post-laser, and you may need to wear sunglasses for a few hours.
YAG Laser is a very minimally non-invasive laser in which the recovery is very rapid, and has an excellent safety record. That is why eye doctors will widely advise you to go for this laser treatment after cataract surgery if there is PCO affecting your vision. There is no significant downtime required, and you can get back to work the very next day after YAG laser capsulotomy. You should notice a significant improvement in vision from the very next day after the YAG laser.
In this regard, Harley Vision in London offers exceptional post-treatment care. You can find out more info by talking to one of our experts, booking an appointment with an eye surgeon in London.
Frequent asked questions (FAQs):
YAG Capsulotomy is a laser procedure implemented specifically in eyes with cloudy vision after cataract surgery or after lens replacement surgery. The laser in itself is done on an outpatient basis, and takes about 5-10 minutes. There is an almost immediate improvement in vision within a few hours. That’s why YAG surgery is so sought-after amongst patients in London and all over the world.
There is no significant downtime required, and you can get back to work the very next day after YAG laser capsulotomy. You should notice a significant improvement in vision from the very next day after the YAG laser.
The two most common risks of YAG laser Capsulotomy are a temporary increase in floaters (dark spots floating across your vision). Less frequent complications include raised ocular pressure, retinal problems (e.g. macular edema), lens-related problems (e.g. pitting of the lens), eye inflammation, eye discomfort. The risk of severe vision loss is very rare. Most patients do not experience any serious symptoms.
YAG Laser Capsulotomy is a pretty effective procedure in itself used to improve vision by treating the opacification behing the IOL. YAG surgery, once done, does not usually need to be repeated. You can talk to one of the doctors in Harley Vision London, for more information.
Please visit our ‘fees (LINK)’ page for more details about our fees. If you want to speak to an advisor about the approximate YAG laser capsulotomy cost for your case, get in touch with Harley Vision, London, today.
YAG capsulotomy almost immediately recovers vision, provided there are no other diseases affecting in the eye (e.g. glaucoma). Suppose the lasered eye is previously lazy or has retinal problems. In the case the vision may not recover fully, or may not improve at all, if the other diseases affecting the eye have a significant impact on your vision.
YAG laser treatment is used for clearing the posterior capsule opacification behind Intraocular Lens that occurs after cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange surgery. When opacification starts interfering with day-to-day activities like driving and in general vision, YAG laser capsulotomy is recommended to recover your vision.