What is YAG Laser Treatment?

There are two types of YAG laser treatment:

  1. YAG laser capsulotomy treats a cloudy lens after cataract or lens eye surgery.
  2. YAG peripheral iridotomy is used for the treatment or prevention of a type of glaucoma.

Though both of these procedures are types of YAG eye surgery, they treat entirely different conditions.

Signs you may need YAG laser capsulotomy

If you experience any of the following symptoms weeks or even months after cataract or lens eye surgery, you may need YAG capsulotomy treatment:

⦿ Blurred or cloudy vision

⦿ Decreased vision

⦿ Light sensitivity

⦿ Difficulty with reading

⦿ Impaired contrast

⦿ Glare or halos around lights

These may be symptoms of Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO). Often, patients who develop PCO may believe that their cataract is coming back or that their surgery was unsuccessful. 

In fact, PCO is a completely different condition that’s relatively simpler, non-invasive and less expensive to treat. 

Why can PCO occur after cataract surgery?

During cataract or lens surgery, an artificial lens is put into the capsule of your eye that held your natural lens. 

Sometimes, this capsule can get cloudy because it still makes cells that could grow over the edges of your new lens. This leads to Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO).

This common postoperative complication happens in about 2–20% of cases of cataract surgery, depending on your eye and the lens used.

Posterior Lens Capsule

What is YAG laser capsulotomy?

YAG laser capsulotomy involves creating a small opening in the cloudy posterior lens capsule. This allows light to pass through the capsule once again, restoring clear vision. 

The process is quick, painless, and completed in a matter of minutes, though you will need to set aside half a day for us to assess your vision and ocular health before and after YAG treatment.

The procedure is all done through a standard eye-examining microscope (slit lamp) while you are seated in the examination chair.

What are the risks of YAG laser capsulotomy?

The risks of YAG laser capsulotomy are generally low, but like any medical procedure, there are potential complications. These may include temporary increased eye pressure, retinal detachment, macular oedema, infection, and visual disturbances. 

What is the recovery process after YAG laser capsulotomy?

Recovery from YAG laser capsulotomy is typically swift.

After the procedure, you may experience a temporary dazzled feeling, and your vision could be blurry for a few hours due to dilating drops.

Most individuals, however, notice substantial improvement in their vision within a day, allowing a quick return to normal activities.

We schedule regular follow-up appointments to ensure the ongoing success of your treatment.


Has your vision gone cloudy after cataract surgery?

Why might you need laser peripheral iridotomy?

YAG laser peripheral iridotomy is typically recommended if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, have elevated eye pressure, or have a closed angle in at least half of your eye (meaning the drainage channels for your eye fluid are narrow or obstructed).

Consult an Eye Specialist for Narrow-Angle Glaucoma if You Experience:

⦿ Eye redness

⦿ Severe eye pain

⦿ Severe headache 

⦿ Blurred or decreased vision

⦿ Rainbows/rings around lights

⦿ Nausea and vomiting accompanied by eye pain

Though other conditions may exhibit similar signs, it’s crucial that you contact an eye care professional immediately if you encounter these symptoms.

    What is YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?

    YAG laser peripheral iridotomy is a procedure used to treat or prevent angle-closure glaucoma.

    What is Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

    Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the iris (coloured part of your eye) bulges, blocking the drainage angle in the eye. 

    This blockage prevents fluid circulation, leading to increased pressure in the eye. Angle-closure glaucoma can occur suddenly or gradually over time and requires immediate professional attention.

    What happens during YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?

    Set aside half a day for your treatment and for us to assess your vision and eye pressure. The procedure will involve the following steps:

    1. Your vision and eye pressure are measured.

    2. Pilocarpine eye drops are applied to constrict your pupils and numb your eyes.

    3. You’ll be comfortably seated, with your chin resting in front of the machine. A magnifying lens is held up to your eye to enhance visibility.

    4. Your consultant uses the YAG laser to create a small opening in the peripheral iris to improve fluid circulation. This procedure is conducted through a slit lamp, a standard eye-examining microscope connected to a laser machine. 

    5. The procedure itself is swift, typically lasting a few minutes, and generally painless.

    6. Around one hour after treatment, your intraocular pressure is measured again to assess the effectiveness of the procedure.
    7. In cases of elevated pressure, you may be prescribed tablets or drops to manage your intraocular pressure for the following days.

      What are the risks of YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?

      Laser peripheral iridotomy, like any medical procedure, carries potential risks, although they are generally low. Some of the risks associated with laser peripheral iridotomy include temporary increased eye pressure, inflammation, bleeding, iris damage, incomplete opening, glare and halos. 

      Our specialised surgical team will discuss these with you in more detail before undergoing laser peripheral iridotomy. They will evaluate your specific situation and provide guidance based on your eye health and medical history.

      What is the recovery process after YAG laser peripheral iridotomy?

      After the iridotomy procedure, you may experience mild discomfort or irritation. Temporary blurriness of vision is common but typically resolves in a few hours.

      Most individuals can resume normal activities the day after the procedure, ensuring a swift return to regular routines.

      To monitor healing and overall eye health, we schedule regular follow-up appointments.

      If you encounter prolonged discomfort, severe pain, or unexpected changes in vision, promptly reach out for further guidance and assessment.

      Resuming Activities

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) is a common condition occurring after cataract surgery, causing clouding in the back portion of the lens capsule.

      Similar to early cataract symptoms, PCO can lead to blurred or cloudy vision. The YAG laser is commonly used to treat PCO through a procedure known as YAG laser capsulotomy.

      YAG laser is utilised to address two main conditions: Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) and Peripheral Iridotomy.

      YAG laser capsulotomy treats PCO, while YAG laser peripheral iridotomy addresses certain glaucoma-related concerns.

      Recovery from YAG laser treatment is typically rapid. Following YAG laser capsulotomy or peripheral iridotomy, most patients can resume regular activities the day after the procedure.

      The laser treatments are quick, lasting about 5 minutes each. Vision improvement is often noticeable within a day, with possible blurriness from dilating drops gradually resolving over a few hours.

      Adhering to post-procedure care guidelines is crucial for optimal healing.

      Alternative options for YAG laser peripheral iridotomy:

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