Mr Nick A Jacobs FRCS FRCOphth

Posterior capsular opacification affects about 1 in 4 people within 5 years of having cataract or clear lens surgery. The cloudiness may develop gradually over several months or years. This is sometimes called after cataract or secondary membrane. In some people, it can become very dense and cause as much or more vision loss as the original cataract.

The decision to have this procedure is based on the same criteria as the decision to have the original cataract surgery:

  • Vision problems are affecting your work or lifestyle
  • Glare caused by bright lights is a problem
  • You cannot pass a vision test required for a driverís license

A YAG laser is used to cut a hole in the clouded back lining of the lens capsule to allow light to pass through the membrane to the retina at the back of the eye.

YAG laser posterior capsulotomy is an outpatient procedure. It does not require anaesthesia, and it is painless.

The most common complication of YAG laser posterior capsulotomy is short-term increased pressure inside the eye, in rare cases more persistent possibly leading to glaucoma.

Other risks include:

  • Detachment of the nerve layer at the back of the eye (retinal detachment). 1 in 500.
  • Swelling of the centre of the retina (macular oedema).
  • Damage or displacement of the intraocular lens.
  • The need to repeat the procedure.

Cataract, Clear Lens Extraction, Glaucoma