If you’re having difficulty seeing after your cataract or lens exchange surgery you may have posterior capsular opacification which can  be quickly & painlessly corrected with a YAG laser capsulotomy treatment.

YAG laser capsulotomy  is frequently needed a few weeks or months after lens replacement & cataract surgery.  The full name of the treatment is Nd:YAG (neodymium yttrium aluminium garnet) laser capsulotomy & is named after the crystals used in the laser.

Cataract & lens replacement surgery are 2 of the most common operations done in the UK. The natural lens in the eye is replaced with an artificial lens to improve vision.

A few months or years after lens implantation, your vision may slowly deteriorate because the capsule which holds the lens implant in place can cloud over. This is called posterior capsule opacification or PCO.

The capsule is part of the natural lens of your eye, which was left after cataract surgery to support the lens implant. When the capsule clouds over & becomes opaque, it obstructs your vision, blurring objects you’re looking at & may increase the glare from car headlights at night. If you had a cataract before, then it may seem like the cataract has returned.

The clear capsule is necessary to support the new lens for a few weeks after cataract or lens replacement surgery. Thereafter no further treatment is necessary so long as the  capsule remains clear. But when the capsule goes cloudy, especially centrally, the cloudy, central capsule must be gently treated with a YAG laser to permanently remove the part of the capsule that is affecting vision.

The treatment is painless, takes a couple of minutes, is one of the safest laser treatments, is usually only done once & is not done in an operating theatre.

1. Clear lens & capsule
2. Light enters the eye perfectly
3. Capsule behind the lens goes cloudy
4. Light scattered by opacified capsule
5. YAG laser clears central cloudy capsule
6. Light enters the eye perfectly again
2. Light enters the eye perfectly
4. Light scattered by opacified capsule
6. Light enters the eye perfectly again

"This is the best thing I've ever done and you were all so brilliant, caring and professional. Thank you. If you are reading this and are undecided - GO FOR IT! You couldn't be in better hands!"

THE YAG laser capsulotomy procedure

The YAG laser gently removes the central part of the cloudy membrane to bring your vision back up to the level that it was after the lens replacement operation was performed.

Eyedrops enlarge the pupil. You position your chin & forehead on the same microscope-like instrument that your eye is usually examined on. You hear some clicks, usually don’t feel anything, the treatment is painless & within a couple of minutes it’s done.

After the posterior capsular opacification (PCO) has been cleared by the YAG laser, the capsule rarely grows back to cause PCO again. Therefore the YAG laser PCO treatment is usually only done once & does not have to be repeated.

The capsule continues to opacify, become more cloudy & your vision will continue to deteriorate. If you delay the YAG PCO laser surgery you are unlikely to suffer any other consequences & your vision can usually be restored as well as if you had YAG PCO treatment early.

Yes, there are risks as with any surgery. Severe risks such as a retinal detachment are rare. More minor risks such as floaters are more common. Here is some more information about the risks.

Consent YAG capsulotomy

Immediately after the YAG laser treatment the vision in the treated eye is usually still a little blurred because your pupil will still be enlarged. Most people find that their eyesight improves significantly within a day of the surgery. But if you have another eye condition or the focus isn’t quite right, the improvement may be limited.

Please don’t drive for at least a few hours after the YAG laser capsulotomy. You will receive some eyedrops to take for a few days afterwards. But by the next day you can resume all your normal activities.

Here is some more information about what you can expect after YAG capsulotomy.

YAG capsulotomy aftercare instructions

Below are the costs of YAG laser capsulotomy

Single eye treatment: £550       Treatment of both eyes: £800

A YAG laser capsulotomy is a medical procedure used to treat a common development following cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the clear, natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Over time, the thin, transparent membrane that holds the new lens in place (called the posterior capsule) can become cloudy, leading to a condition known as posterior capsular opacification. This cloudiness causes your vision to deteriorate. 

A YAG laser capsulotomy involves using a YAG laser to create an opening painlessly and gently in the clouded capsule, restoring clear vision. It is usually only done once ever to the eye. It’s a quick and effective procedure done in a consulting room, not an operating theatre.


If after you’ve had cataract or lens exchange surgery you aren’t seeing well, there may be one one or more reasons. Posterior capsular opacification is one of them. So, book a consultation & we’ll see what the reason for your blurred vision is & whether you will benefit from a YAG laser capsulotomy.

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