PORT ELIZABETH OPHTHALMOLOGIST’S

YAG LASER POSTERIOR CAPSULOTOMY

After modern cataract with lens implant surgery, the back membrane of the cataract is left in place to support the lens implant. This membrane may become cloudy and cause blurred vision, and sometimes patients will see streaks or haloes around lights. These problems worsen with time.

In the past, a trip back to the operating room was necessary. A small cut was made and a needle introduced to cut the cloudy membrane. Complications of the surgery included possible infection, retinal swelling, or retinal detachment with possible loss of vision. An anesthetic injection was necessary and complications from the injection included heart or breathing disturbances, damage to the optic nerve, or perforation of the eyeball with the needle.

Fortunately, a modern YAG laser treatment can be done without a need for an anesthetic injection or a small cut. Many of the complications noted previously are thereby eliminated. There is no interruption in physical activities and no patch after the laser treatment is needed. A YAG capsulotomy is done with a disruptive laser which is not the same as a cutting laser. The procedure is not painful and takes a minute or two at the most.

Complications are extremely rare, but can occur. These include:

  • Some new floaters or spots may be seen.
  • Retinal swelling or detachment can follow this laser
  • The eye pressure may rise temporarily after the YAG laser treatment.
  • The intraocular lens can be damaged in rare cases
  • Extremely rarely the lens can dislocate backwards into the eye after the laser