Treats blurred vision caused by thickening of the capsule holding the lens implant. This is a common occurrence after cataract surgery usually after months or years but occasionally at an earlier stage.
YAG laser capsulotomy is a technique used to correct this problem. YAG laser treatment opens the capsule allowing light to pass through to the back of the eye and help you see better again.
In the weeks, months and years following cataract surgery, about one in five people notice their vision is becoming blurred again. This condition is called posterior capsular opacification (PCO).
The lens of your eye is held in a thin clear lining called a capsule. During cataract surgery the natural lens is removed from the capsule and replaced with a clear plastic lens. Over time in some patients the capsule behind the lens can thicken. This can stop light passing through to the light-sensitive membrane at the back of your eye.
Typical symptoms are similar to those caused by cataracts and include:
YAG laser capsulotomy is a treatment that is used to make an opening in the capsule to allow light to pass through to the back of the eye and help improve your vision. The treatment is routinely done as an outpatient procedure, typically lasts under 15 minutes and involves no surgical cuts.
While the NHS offers excellent care in this area you may find it hard to see a consultant quickly unless your symptoms are very severe. If you have private medical insurance or are willing to pay for the operation yourself, we can help. You may be referred to one of our respected surgeons via your own GP. We can also make sure you see one of our specialised consultants within a few days of your referral to us.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You'll have a consultation with a consultant specialising in eye surgery. During this appointment you'll be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have. You'll also need to bring your current glasses and a list of any medicines you're taking.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
Like cataract surgery, there are no specific pre-op requirements to undertake before YAG laser surgery. Eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables, and stopping smoking is always recommended though and will benefit your sight and general health.
We understand that having surgery can be a time of worry and anxiety. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
The treatment is usually carried out in the outpatient clinic. About 20 minutes before, you'll be given a set of eye drops to open up (dilate) your pupil. These drops will blur your vision further so you should not drive home after the procedure.
You'll be taken through to the treatment room and asked to sit in a chair. Your surgeon may put a small contact lens on your eye and you will be given anaesthetic eye drops to numb the eye surface. You will then be asked to rest your chin on the frame of the laser machine to help keep your eye still. Your surgeon will carefully direct a laser beam into your eye and apply multiple pulses of laser. The laser beam pulses will make an opening in the clouded capsule behind the lens so that light will be able to pass through to the back of the eye.
The procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes. You will see bright flashes of lights and hear clicks but it is not painful. The contact lens on the eye will feel strange, sometimes with a little pressure, but should not be painful either.
Vision usually improves over 12 - 24 hours. You may notice some floaters in your vision for up to a month which usually clear. If they do not clear or get worse at any time you should contact your consultant.
You should be able to go home straight after the procedure but are advised not to drive for that day.
While you might feel some mild discomfort or scratchiness in your eye, pain after YAG laser capsulotomy is uncommon. You may need some anti-inflammatory eye drops and/or anti eye pressure drops following your treatment.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
For a few days afterward YAG laser treatment:
However, these side effects are completely normal and should improve in a few days. You can also carry on with all your usual activities unless you’ve specifically been advised not to by your consultant. You should however, not drive on the day of your appointment so will need to make arrangements for your journey home.
You should be enjoying a much clearer view of the world as soon as the side-effects clear up, usually within a couple of days of your treatment.
Once you’re ready to be discharged, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home because you won’t be able to drive. You should be able to return to normal activities the day following the treatment unless you are advised otherwise by your consultant.
We’re with you every step of the way through your recovery, even after you’ve left hospital.
After your operation we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, advice on what you should and shouldn't do, and any other follow-up support that your consultant says you need. Your consultant may want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing, if so an appointment will be arranged for you when you leave the hospital.
Although complications from this procedure are uncommon, the chance of any problems depends on the overall health of your eye and other factors such as your general health. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
Spire Thames Valley Hospital is only a 10 minute drive from both the M4 and M40 motorways and we are less than half an hour from central London by train.
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