YAG Laser

A Yag capsulotomy is a special laser treatment used to improve your vision after cataract surgery. It is a simple, commonly performed procedure which is very safe. During your cataract operation, the natural lens inside your eye that had become cloudy was removed.

As an example of a common complication, you might need to undergo a laser procedure (YAG laser capsulotomy) costing about $300 to correct posterior capsule opacification (PCO). This complication involves clouding of the residual membrane left in the eye at the time of cataract surgery, and upon which the IOL is placed.

This is a non-invasive laser procedure which eliminates the cloudiness that occasionally interferes with a patient's vision after cataract surgery. During cataract surgery the cataract is removed but a thin membrane (capsule) that held the cataract is left in place to hold the implanted artificial lens. Leaving the capsule in place during cataract surgery allows the vision after surgery to be more stable and ensures fewer surgical complications. However, sometimes the posterior or back portion of the capsule becomes cloudy over time. This can be resolved with a quick laser procedure performed in the outpatient clinic.


Problems after cataract surgery are rare but can occur. Sometimes the tissue that encloses the artificial intraocular lens becomes cloudy and blurs the vision. This is known as a secondary cataract, even though it's not a true cataract. This can develop months or even years after cataract surgery. This outpatient procedure is treated with a laser, called YAG laser capsulotomy.

What to expect

The doctor will first use drops to dilate the pupil and then use a laser to make a tiny hole in the eye tissue behind the lens to let light pass through it. This outpatient procedure takes just minutes to perform. Most patients will have instant improvement to their vision while others will notice a gradual improvement over several days. Some doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatory drops for a few days after.

How to prepare

No preparation is necessary, and patients may resume normal activities immediately.

Are there any risks to YAG Capsulotomy ?

Serious complications with posterior capsulotomy are extremely rare. It is a safe and effective procedure, but like any medical procedure, it does have some risks. The most common being the rise in pressure within the eye. If this occurs then you may be given drops, or a combination of tablets and drops, to reduce the pressure. There is also a slightly higher risk of retinal detachment and also swelling of the macula both of which are rare if the laser treatment takes place more than 6 months following original cataract surgery.

Going to an eye specialist experienced with the procedure can significantly minimise the risks involved with posterior capsulotomy.