The natural lens of the eye is enclosed in a clear, cellophane like membrane called the lens capsule. During cataract surgery the front of the capsule is opened.  The cloudy lens inside the capsule is removed.  In most cases, the back of the capsule is left in one piece, and a plastic lens implant is put in place in front of the capsule. This capsule is normally clear like a glass window.

In a small number of patients, the capsule thickens and becomes a little opaque. This stops the light reaching the back of the eye. If this happens, you may notice a gradual decrease in vision, problems with glare, or things might look slightly hazy.  The capsule thickening does not damage the eye in any way; it merely makes the sight fuzzy.  Capsule thickening (also called “after cataract”) can happen at any time after your cataract operation from a few months to years. The aim of this laser procedure is to make a hole in the thickened lens capsule (called as laser capsulotomy).


You need YAG laser capsulotomy in order to restore your vision to how it was after the cataract operation.  The decision to have this procedure is based on the same criteria as the original cataract surgery:

  • Vision problems affecting your work or lifestyle.
  • Glare caused by bright lights.
  • Double vision.
  • The difference in vision between your two eyes is significant.
  • Another vision threatening eye disease.

The procedure is not needed unless vision loss caused by clouding of the lens capsule is seriously affecting the person’s vision and lifestyle.


You will be taken into the laser room at Sulis Hospital, where you will sit at a machine with a chin and headrest.  The doctor will put other drops to numb the front of the eye before a special contact lens is placed on it. The laser treatment will then be given. You will hear a clicking sound and see a flashing light. The treatment takes about ten minutes and is not painful. Most patients say that they feel a slight “pop” or “shock” in the eye, but that it does not hurt.

After the laser treatment, it is advisable for you to sit for about five to ten minutes to recover. Your vision will be blurred for a few hours after the laser treatment due to the effect of the eye drops used to dilate the pupil to allow the laser treatment to be performed. You may be prescribed some eye drops or tablets for a short while, to protect the eye against any short term increase in pressure in the eye.

You normally do not require a follow-up appointment following this procedure unless you are having treatment for any other eye condition.


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