Several months to years following routine cataract surgery, it is common for patients to develop a cloudy film behind the new lens implant. The posterior lens capsule is a structure that is left in place at the time of cataract surgery to hold the new lens implant in place. Immediately after cataract surgery, the capsule is generally crystal clear. Over time, the capsule can become thickened and cloudy. When it does, the vision tends to become filmy, as if “looking through a dirty windshield”, as many of our patients tend to describe it. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy problem to fix. The YAG laser is an instrument which can quickly and painlessly clear the capsule permanently. This is a low risk procedure that takes just a minute or so to complete. If you enjoy good vision after cataract surgery but later develop filmy or cloudy vision, give us a call. Chances are, a YAG laser capsulotomy will help you see better quickly and painlessly.
One of the most common problems after cataract surgery is clouding of the membrane around the lens. This membrane is referred to as the posterior capsule, and once the membrane becomes cloudy, the condition is termed posterior capsule opacification. A cloudy posterior capsule causes blurry vision, but this condition is easily and safely remedied with laser treatment at our Jefferson City office.
During cataract surgery, the surgeon removed the cloudy, natural lens of your eye (the cataract) and replaced it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Much of the thin clear membrane that surrounds the natural lens (called the lens capsule) was left intact during surgery, and the IOL was implanted within it. When the cataract was removed, your surgeon made every attempt to maintain the integrity of the lens capsule so that the IOL is held safely in place.
In about 40-50% of patients, the posterior portion of the capsule becomes hazy after cataract surgery, causing posterior capsule opacification. This occurs because cells within the eye grow on the capsule. In extreme cases, your vision could be worse than it was before cataract surgery if the condition progresses significantly.
If you have cloudy vision after your cataract surgery, we can use laser treatment to safely, effectively, and painlessly correct it. This procedure, known as a YAG laser capsulotomy, allows light to clearly pass through the pupil into the eye. With this procedure, your vision is restored in a matter of hours.
YAG laser capsulotomy has a few simple steps. First, the eye is dilated with eye drops. Then, a laser removes the hazy posterior capsule without making an incision or touching the eye. Afterward the procedure, eye drops may be provided to reduce inflammation.
After your YAG laser capsulotomy, you may immediately begin living your life as normal. You may experience a few floaters, or spots in your vision, afterward. These generally go away within a few weeks.