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What is YAG Capsulotomy?

YAG capsulotomy is a simple procedure that’s sometimes needed after a cataract operation. It’s performed if the vision becomes clouded after following a cataract replacement and is needed in approximately 25% of people.  

Everything You Need to Know about YAG Capsulotomy

  • When is YAG capsulotomy carried out?
  • How is it done?
  • Risks and side effects of YAG capsulotomy

When is YAG capsulotomy carried out?

When a cataract operation is performed, a small amount of the lens capsule is left in place for the new lens to be attached to.  Sometimes, proteins in the eye can clump and thicken on this, causing vision to become cloudy. It can happen any time after a cataract procedure, from months to years later.

Rest assured, this is not the cataract returning or the formation of a new one—despite the often wrongly-used terminology of “secondary cataract” for the condition. The correct name for when this occurs is Posterior Capsule Opacification, or PCO.

A YAG capsulotomy is a short procedure that’s carried out to cure it.

How is it done?

The procedure is carried out in the eye doctor’s office. It’s a very quick process—indeed, the prep takes longer than the treatment itself.

  • Your vision will be checked.
  • Dilating eye drops will be put in the eye.
  • Anesthetic drops will be used to numb the surface of the eye. You won’t feel a thing during the procedure.
  • A contact lens is placed on the eye’s surface.
  • Your ophthalmologist uses a special laser (called a YAG laser, hence the name of the treatment) to make a small opening in the cloudy area of the lens capsule.

You can expect the whole thing to take 20 minutes or less.

Risks and side effects of YAG capsulotomy

Although it’s a minimally invasive procedure, there are still some common side effects that you might experience in the hours and days afterward. These include:

  • A gritty feeling in the eye.
  • Being sensitive to light (until the dilating eye drops wear off).
  • An itchy, scratchy eye.
  • Excessive watering.
  • General, mild discomfort.
  • The appearance of floaters. This is normal and is due to the proteins breaking up and floating around within the vitreous. These usually improve over time.

While post-operative problems are rare, your eye doctor will advise you of the potential risks, such as:

  • An increase in eye pressure. If this occurs (< 7.5% of people) it’s generally temporary. It’s treated with eye drops and normally resolves within a few days.
  • Glaucoma (< 1%)
  • Lens displacement (< 1%)
  • Macular edema (< 1%)
  • Retinal detachment (< 1%)
  • Infection (extremely rare)
  • Reduced vision (extremely rare)

There is also a < 1% chance that the treatment will be unsuccessful. 

Although these potential risks sound somewhat frightening, rest assured that they’re all treatable conditions. Your ophthalmologist will assess you a day or two after a YAG capsulotomy and advise you of any signs and symptoms that you need to look out for.

Think You Might Need YAG Capsulotomy? Contact the WBEC Today

The West Boca Eye Center offers the ultimate treatment for all things cataract related. If you’re experiencing any deterioration in the clarity of your vision after having had a cataract replacement, then it could well be PCO.

As one of (if not “the”) leading cataract clinics in the USA, you’ll benefit from our outstanding level of care. Led by one of the world’s preeminent cataract surgeons—Dr. Brent Bellotte—we’ll diagnose what’s causing your issue and, if YAG capsulotomy is required—get it carried out with the minimum of fuss.

Don’t waste a minute more. Head to and call today to book your consultation.

What is YAG Capsulotomy?
What is YAG Capsulotomy?

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Specializing in modern cataract surgery.

Located 1/2 miles North of West Boca Medical Center on Glades Road, directly behind Macy's Furniture Gallery.

West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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