Posterior Capsulotomy

A posterior capsulotomy is a non-invasive laser procedure to eliminate the cloudiness that occasionally interferes with a patient's vision after cataract surgery. In modern cataract surgery, the cataract is removed, but a thin membrane that held the cataract is left in place to hold the implanted artificial lens.

Leaving the capsule in place during cataract surgery is a great advancement because it 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 in-office laser procedure.

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The capsular bag can become
cloudy over time.

A posterior capsulotomy is for those who:

  • have had cataract surgery
  • believe that their vision is gradually getting worse

What to expect on procedure day:

Drops will be used to numb your eye; no injections or needles are used. When your eye is completely numb, you will be positioned behind the laser and the short procedure will begin.

The laser may be performed in the office or in the surgery center. This is not considered surgery, even if done in the surgical facility, as no incisions are made and it is done without surgical instruments.

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Opening the bag with the laser allows for clear passage of light rays.

Your doctor will use a YAG laser to create an opening in the center of the cloudy capsule. The opening allows clear passage of the light rays and eliminates the cloudiness that was interfering with your vision.

The entire procedure usually takes less than five minutes and you can leave soon afterward. The results of the procedure are almost immediate. However, your vision will probably be a little blurry from the drops so someone will need to drive you home. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drops for you to use for a few days following the procedure. Most patients resume their normal activities immediately. You should see your doctor within a month after the procedure to allow the vision to be checked.

Realistic expectations:

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

If you and your doctor decide that posterior capsulotomy is an option for you, you will be given additional information and scheduled for the procedure at any of the North Dakota Eye Clinic offices.

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