Yag Laser Eye Surgery
What is the YAG laser?
YAG stands for Yttrium Aluminum Garnet. These are the crystals used to generate the laser. This laser uses a focused beam of energy to make small openings in the posterior capsule to clear the clouded membrane that is creating posterior capsule opacity, commonly called a “secondary cataract” (even though it isn’t actually a cataract).
What are the benefits of the YAG laser?
The YAG laser is perfect for this task because it delivers a “focused” beam of light, meaning it only affects the tissue it is focused on. The laser light passes through the cornea on the front of the eye without damaging it in any way. The energy from the laser then vaporizes the cloudy posterior capsule, restoring clear vision.
Would I need a laser capsulotomy?
Cataract surgery is the most successful surgical procedure performed. In the U.S. alone, over 3 million patients undergo cataract surgery with an overall success rate of 98 percent or higher.
Posterior capsule opacity is the most common complication after cataract surgery. There is a thin membrane that surrounds the natural lens, called the lens capsule. This is left intact during cataract surgery and the intraocular lens that replaces the cataract-clouded lens is implanted within the lens capsule. In about 20 percent of patients, the posterior portion of the capsule becomes hazy during cataract surgery recovery or even months later. This clouding is caused by a protein film generated from microscopic cells that cling to the anterior capsule and the equator of the natural lens, which became the cataract. During cataract surgery, it is impossible to remove every cell. Afterward, these cells continue to produce the same protein material they did before, although the lens is now gone (replaced by the IOL). The film migrates across the posterior capsule creating the clouding, the secondary cataract.
If you have this happening, it’s roughly a 50/50 chance after cataract surgery, the posterior capsule may start to cloud. As the condition progresses, your vision may become cloudier than it was before your cataract surgery. Now you need a YAG laser capsulotomy.
What happens during a laser capsulotomy?
These are simple procedures with Dr. Rom. He performs YAG laser capsulotomies at our Out-Patient Surgery Center. The procedure is safe, effective, and painless. Here’s how he does it:
- The eye is first dilated with drops. No anesthetic is necessary, because the capsule has no nerve endings.
- You sit behind the YAG laser and Dr. Rom tells you where to look.
- The YAG laser then delivers the energy into your eye. The energy passes through the cornea to the capsule. On average, about 30 pulses from the laser will be used to treat your eye.
- The procedure takes just 1-2 minutes.
"Dr Rom is very patient and takes the time to answer all your questions. I had cataract surgery and was very nervous - He took the time to make sure I understood the procedure and that I was comfortable throughout. He has a very caring chair side manner. Thank You, Dr. Rom!" - Kathleen S.
What is a Secondary Cataract?
A secondary cataract is not actually a cataract, it is caused from the capsular bag turning cloudy.
What if I blink during the YAG laser capsulotomy?
Because the laser energy is focused upon the posterior capsule, if you blink there is no harm to your eyelids or other eye structures. For this reason, no eyelid holding device is required.
Do I have to do anything to prepare for a YAG laser capsulotomy?
You don’t have any preparation. No eye drops or pre-treatment medication are needed.
Vision after Cataract Surgery
Afterwards, your vision may be a little blurry for a few hours due to the dilation of your eyes. You may also notice a few new floaters in your field of vision. These will decrease over time. There isn’t any pain after your treatment, and you can go right back to your normal activities.