YAG capsulotomy is a surgical procedure performed on the eye to treat a condition called posterior capsule opacification (PCO). PCO can occur after cataract surgery, when the natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Over time, the capsule that holds the IOL in place may become cloudy or wrinkled, causing blurred vision or other visual disturbances. YAG capsulotomy is performed using a laser called the YAG laser to create an opening in the cloudy posterior capsule, allowing light to pass through and restore clear vision.

Here’s an overview of the YAG capsulotomy procedure:

  1. Preparation: The patient’s eye is dilated using eye drops to allow the ophthalmologist to access the capsule.
  2. Numbing the eye: Topical anesthetic eye drops are administered to numb the eye’s surface, ensuring a comfortable procedure.
  3. Laser application: The patient is positioned in front of a YAG laser machine. The ophthalmologist uses a special contact lens or a microscope to focus the laser beam precisely on the cloudy posterior capsule.
  4. Creation of an opening: The YAG laser emits short, focused bursts of energy that create a small opening in the posterior capsule. The laser energy vaporizes a portion of the capsule, allowing light to pass through unobstructed.
  5. Immediate improvement: The procedure is typically quick and painless, and the patient can often notice an immediate improvement in vision once the opening is made.
  6. Post-operative care: After the procedure, the patient may be prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops to minimize any inflammation or discomfort. Vision generally improves rapidly, and the patient can usually resume normal activities soon after the procedure.

YAG capsulotomy is considered a safe and effective procedure. Complications are rare but can include an increase in intraocular pressure, floaters, or damage to the IOL or other structures within the eye. However, the overall risk of complications is low, and most patients experience significant visual improvement following the procedure.

It’s important to note that YAG capsulotomy is specifically performed to address posterior capsule opacification after cataract surgery and is not a treatment for other eye conditions or disorders. If you have concerns about your vision or the need for a YAG capsulotomy, it is best to consult with your ophthalmologist or eye care specialist, who can evaluate your individual situation and recommend the most appropriate course of action.

Learn more about YAG Capsulotomy here: https://www.nvisioncenters.com/cataracts/yag/

This article was originally written on 5/29/2023 by Angelique Pillar, MD.