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Learning About YAG Laser Capsulotomy

Cataract in the eye

What is YAG laser capsulotomy?

Months or years after cataract surgery, your vision may become fuzzy again. This happens when a membrane in your eye, called the posterior capsule, becomes cloudy. This is sometimes called a "secondary cataract."

YAG laser capsulotomy is surgery to help you see clearly again.

How is this surgery done?

Before surgery, you may get medicine to reduce the pressure in your eye. You may also get drops in your eye. You will not feel pain.

The doctor uses a special laser, called a YAG laser, to make an opening in your posterior capsule. This opening lets light pass through this clouded capsule. The light then goes to the nerve layer in the back of your eye (retina). Light must reach your retina for you to see well.

The surgery takes 5 to 10 minutes. You will not have any stitches or bandages. You may stay in the office, clinic, or hospital for about 1 hour before you go home. During this time, your doctor will check your eye pressure.

What can you expect after YAG laser capsulotomy?

It will take 1 or 2 days to see as clearly as possible. You will not have pain. You should be able to return to work or your normal routine the day after surgery.

It is common to see spots or floaters for a few weeks after surgery. But call your doctor or nurse call line right away if:

  • Your vision gets worse.
  • You see flashes of light.
  • You have a burst of floaters.
  • You see a "curtain" floating.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

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