YAG Laser Capsulotomy or Posterior Capsule Opacification

What is Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO)?

Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is a relatively common occurrence after cataract surgery and it is easily treatable.

Sometimes you can develop a thickening at the back (posterior) of the new artificial lens capsule which holds your artificial lens in place. This means that light is less able to travel to the retina (the light sensitive part of the back of your eye). Sight can become cloudy or blurred, and you may have issues with bright lights and glare.

Laser treatment can make the vision clear again as it clears the membrane and restores the vision.

How does it work?

The laser is a high beam of light which is aimed at the precise areas of the eye, to treat various conditions. The YAG is one particular type of laser. In the majority of instances, it is a very quick and virtually painless procedure.

This is done as a private outpatient appointment in The Eye Clinic at the General Hospital.

What happens before treatment?

Your vision will be checked, and your intraocular pressures measured. Drops are instilled to dilate the pupil and may take a while to work. You will be seated in front of the laser, and local anaesthetic drops instilled to numb the surface of the eye.

How does treatment work?

The practitioner will then sit opposite you and will ask you to place your chin on the chin rest and they will explain the procedure. The laser light is invisible but a bright light is used to see the capsule. Each laser shot lasts a fraction of a second and you will hear a loud clicking at the same time

The laser cuts a hole in the opaque membrane behind the implant and allows light to reach the retina, and restores the vision. Sometimes this is instantaneous, and other times can take a few days for vision to be fully restored. You may be given medication to take home with you afterwards and you will be instructed on their installation.

It may take some time for the blurriness to settle down so we recommend you have a driver to take you home. Because the treatment does not require any incisions or stitches, you may return to your usual activities straight away.

You will be given a post operative follow up appointment 2-3 week after your procedure to ensure that the eye has settled down.

What are the risks?

This procedure is considered very safe and there are but a few unlikely complications:

· Rise in eye pressure - If you are concerned, please ask your GP to check this soon after surgery as medication can be given to bring this back down.

· Inflammation inside the eye - this is uncommon, but drops can be given with a quick response

· Floaters - these are harmless clumps of cells which move around in the vitreous jelly inside the eye. You may see these as dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.

· Damage to the intraocular lens - minor scratches are occasionally unavoidable but very rarely cause visual problems.

The vast majority of people get an excellent improvement in their vision following laser surgery without experiencing any issues, if you have any concerns, please discuss this with the clinician before your surgery.

In the extremely unlikely event that you experience any of the following, please contact us as soon as possible:-

· Pain not relieved by normal painkillers

· Noticeable redness in your eye

· Sight becoming worse

· Flashing lights or a shadow/curtain in your vision

If this occurs outside of business hours, please either contact your out of hours GP or attend the A&E department where one of the eye specialists will be on call.

Castle Quay Medical Centre, Harbour Reach,
Rue De L’Etau, St Helier,
Jersey JE2 3EH

01534 745510

Spiteri Eyecare