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Having a YAG laser
capsulotomy after cataract
The full name of this treatment is Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet)
laser capsulotomy. This is a simple and safe laser treatment to improve your eyesight
after cataract surgery. This leaflet explains the benefits, risks and alternatives of the
procedure, as well as what you can expect when you come to hospital. If you have any
questions or concerns, please speak to a doctor or nurse caring for you.
YAG laser capsulotomy
It 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. A new artificial lens was put inside the lens membrane (called the bag or capsule) in
your eye. This capsule may thicken after surgery and become cloudy and might interfere with
the light reaching the back of the eye. When this happens, your sight can become misty, and
you may get glare in bright light, or from lights at night-time.
Capsule thickening can happen shortly after your cataract operation, but more commonly
occurs a few years after surgery. YAG laser capsulotomy is the only way to treat this. Apart
from affecting your vision, the thickening does not damage the eye in any way.
In a YAG laser capsulotomy the doctor uses a special laser to create a small hole in the centre
of the capsule, which lets light through.
What happens during a YAG laser capsulotomy
You will need to visit the outpatient department for a laser clinic appointment. The treatment
will be done in one of our laser treatment rooms as a ‘walk in – walk out’ procedure. You do
not need to stop eating or drinking, or change into a hospital gown for this procedure.
You will have some drops put into your eye to enlarge the pupil, and anaesthetic eye drops to
numb the surface of the eye. The laser machine is similar to the slit lamp machine used to