Within five years of cataract surgery, up to 50% of patients develop clouding of their capsule supporting the intraocular lens implant. This clouding is called a secondary cataract. A YAG laser capsulotomy corrects this problem with a quick in-office procedure. Your health insurance may even cover this vision-restoring procedure, which is considered the gold standard for treating secondary cataracts.
What Is A YAG Laser Capsulotomy After Cataract Surgery?
Dr. Alabata replaces the clouded lens or cataract with an artificial one during cataract surgery. This new lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL) implant, rests inside a structure called the capsule. These IOLs will never need replacing and never become cloudy, so your primary cataract never returns.
For more that half of all people who get cataract surgery, the capsule behind the IOL itself can become cloudy. This is the result of epithelial cells migrating onto the capsule making it opaque to light. This leads to a similar cloudy vision and glare from lights that many people had with their cataracts, leading to the term of secondary cataracts. A YAG laser capsulotomy works by using a medical laser to create an opening in the clouded capsule which then restores your vision once again.
How Soon After Cataract Surgery Can A YAG Laser Capsulotomy Be Done?
Clouding of the capsule behind the IOL, known as a posterior capsular opacification or PCO, usually happens months to years after cataract surgery. In some people, however, it can happen more quickly. A YAG laser capsulotomy can be safely performed within a few months for people who have fully recovered from cataract surgery. Dr. Alabata will recommend when you can safely have the procedure. Most people who have had cataract surgery and have healed without complications can have a YAG laser capsulotomy within 30 to 60 days if necessary.
What IS Recovery Like From A YAG Laser Capsulotomy?
You can drive yourself to and home from your procedure. The laser creates an opening in the posterior capsule during a painless treatment that takes only a few minutes. You may have some floaters for a few days to a few weeks after treatment. These will settle down on their own. After a YAG laser capsulotomy, you will have no limitations on your activities and can return to your daily routine with clearer vision.
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What Results Will I See With A YAG Laser Capsulotomy?
Cloudy vision, haze, and glare should improve immediately after the procedure. Floaters will settle down after a few days to a few weeks, leaving you with clearer vision. Because light only needs to pass through a small opening to focus on the back of the eye, a YAG laser capsulotomy only needs to create a tiny space in the capsule for you to have improved vision again. A secondary cataract typically does not recur once treated, so the laser procedure is usually performed only once.
Am I A Good Candidate for YAG Laser After Cataract Surgery?
If you had cataract surgery and had a normal recovery afterwards, you may make a good candidate for a YAG laser capsulotomy, which is covered by most health insurances. This treatment will resolve the capsular cloudiness within only a few minutes.
Take the Next Step
To schedule your in-person YAG laser capsulotomy consultation, call Alabata Eye Center at (850) 331-3937. A referral is not necessary. We look forward to hearing from you!