What is a capsulotomy?
A capsulotomy is a painless laser procedure that helps correct cloudy vision which may occur months to years after cataract extraction. During cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant. The implant is placed within the same thin membrane, or capsule, that originally held the cataract in place. Sometimes after cataract surgery, the capsule can become hazy and cloudy, resulting in blurred vision, glare from light, or other problematic visual symptoms.
How is it performed?
Before the procedure, a technician will instill some eye drops to dilate your pupil and then you will be seated at the YAG laser (pictured above). Once your eye has dilated, your ophthalmologist will use the laser to create a small opening in the capsule which will allow light to focus clearly on the retina again. The procedure itself takes only two or three minutes. Your eye pressure will need to be measured one hour after the laser treatment before you will be allowed to return home. Although the results are almost immediate, we highly recommend that you have someone drive you home as your vision may be slightly blurred from the eye drops used.
What are the risks?
Although serious complications are very rare, it is still a medical procedure and does include some risks. Your eye pressure will need to be monitored following the procedure and you may be given some medications for a short while to help maintain a healthy eye pressure. There is also a small risk for retinal detachment, so it is very important to attend your follow-up visits after a YAG laser procedure. You will need to return to your eye care professional one week later for a brief exam and for a dilated exam one month following your treatment.