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YAG Laser Capsulotomy
Secondary Cataract

Click here to find out the American Academy of Ophthalmology's view on secondary cataract.

What is secondary cataract?

In cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is replaced by a clear artificial lens. Occasionally, after months to years, the residual cells of the natural lens grow behind the artificial lens and create a membrane. This membrane, which is called posterior capsular opacification or secondary cataract, once again can cause blurred vision and/or sensitivity to light.

How is secondary cataract treated?

Secondary cataract can be treated in the office by a simple painless procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy:

  • first the pupil is dilated by dilating drops

  • then the surface of the eye is numbed by an eye drop

  • a special lens is placed over the surface of the eye to provide magnification and stability of the eye

  • the surgeon targets the membrane with laser and breaks apart the area that blocks the vision.

The procedure takes a few minutes and the patient starts to see better within 24 hours. 

What are side effects and risks of YAG laser capsulotomy?

Common side effects of YAG laser capsulotomy include: 

  • Increase in the eye pressure which is usually transient and can be controlled with eye drops

  • Inflammation inside the eye which can usually be controlled with eye drops.

  • Pieces of the membrane that fall in the back of the eye can be seen as floaters that usually take weeks to months to clear. Floaters can be also associated with a retinal detachment following the procedure. You should call your ophthalmologist immediately if you notice a lot of floaters. 

Cataract YAG procedure

Cataract YAG procedure

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