Several conditions can occur after cataract surgery. One of the most common problems following a cataract operation is posterior capsule opacification. This happens when a cloudy layer of scar tissue forms behind the eye’s lens implant. If the cloudiness affects your vision, your doctor may suggest a special laser treatment known as YAG laser to correct the problem. YAG stands for Yttrium aluminum garnet. This is a synthetic crystal found within the laser device used for the treatment.
As you may already know, cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s natural lens that had become opaque or cloudy. In most cases, a new artificial lens is then used to replace it. There are cases when a patient’s lens membrane thickens and becomes cloudy. This results in a patient’s sight of becoming hazy.
The thickening of the lens membrane can occur several months to two years following cataract surgery. YAG laser treatment is the only way to treat this problem. It’s a simple and noninvasive outpatient procedure to improve a patient’s vision after a cataract operation.
YAG laser capsulotomy involves a few simple steps. Before the procedure, the patient’s eye is usually dilated using dilating eye drops. This way, your eye doctor will have a good view of the lens surface.
During a YAG laser treatment, your doctor may use a magnifying contact lens to help him or her aim the YAG laser at the cloudy layer. The YAG laser is the special laser used to clear the frosting from the lens’s back surface without making an incision or even touching the eye. The laser makes tiny holes in the lens membrane. These holes join up, creating an opening in the capsule. Patients have to keep their heads and eyes steady during the procedure unless instructed by the doctor. Just inform your doctor beforehand if you need to move your head for whatever reason.
After the treatment, your eye will be temporarily dazzled because of the bright light emitted from the YAG laser machine. You should feel your vision to stabilize within five to 10 minutes, though. But expect it to remain blurred over the next four to six hours until the effects of the dilating eye drops wear off. Your ophthalmologist will likely prescribe an anti-inflammatory and pressure eye drops after the procedure.
The entire YAG laser treatment process is painless and can be completed from the outside of the affected eye within just a few minutes. Most patients will notice an improvement in vision within a day. In fact, you can readily resume all your normal activities right away. It’s not unusual for patients to see floaters for a few weeks, though. This should resolve on its own. Since the capsule doesn’t regrow once vaporized by the YAG laser, the treatment is often only needed once.
Do you want to find out if you’re a good candidate for YAG laser treatment? Visit Santa Barbara Eyecare today to schedule your consultation. Call our clinic now in Santa Barbara, California, for more information.