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What Is ‘YAG Laser Capsulotomy’?

Following the cataract operation ( with or without IOL ) the ‘posterior capsule’ that has been left behind may, after a few months or few years, start becoming cloudy. When this happens the vision becomes blurred as if the cataract is developing again. This condition is called ‘after-cataract’ and is quite common, occurring in 60-70 per cent patients at some time or the other after operation. For useful vision to be restored a small opening has to be made in the centre of the capsule. This can be done by two methods: operative method and LASER method. The laser method is superior because it is faster, painless, does not involve injections, tablets, etc., and you can go home immediately with full sight restored. The laser used is called a YAG laser and the procedure is called a ‘capsulotomy’. This laser is available in this hospital to take care of this problem whenever it arises.

Preparation for Surgery

Once you have made the decision to get operated special tests will be done to determine the exact power of the IOL to be implanted. You will be prescribed eye drops to be put in the eye for a few days before the operation so that the eye becomes free of all infections. You will have to seek date and a list of pre-operative instructions. You will have to report to the hospital at the time given to you and a room will be provided to you when you come. Only two relatives will be allowed to be with you. No children will be allowed.

Hospital Stay

No real need of hospitalisation is there and the operation can be done on OPD basis. Those who have their own conveyance and live locally can go home 3 hours after the operation. A room with attached bath is provided to all. You however, have to come back the next morning to get the eye examined and to get advice regarding the medicines etc. Those who find it inconvenient to go and return the next morning are provided a room with attached bath for the night stay.


The operation is done under local anaesthesia only and the patient is fully conscious during the operation. The surgery takes approximately one hour. There is no pain during the operation.

Post-operative Care

Immediately after the operation the patient should rest in bed for a few hours. Patient can walk to the bathroom if needed.

A set of post-operative instructions are given at the time of discharge. These are to be followed after reaching home.

The patient is called for periodic follow-up and the dates are given at the time of discharge. Complete recovery will take 6-8 weeks for ECCE (with or without IOL) and 2-3 weeks for phako-emulsification. At the end of this period final glasses will be prescribed.

It is very usual for the glass power to change 4-6 months after the operation especially in the ECCE group (not so with phako) so the patient may have to come back for re-testing of glasses.

What about Complications?

Regardless of the care, expertise and sophisticated instrumentation, there exists the chance of complications in any surgical procedure. Luckily complications are rare and when they do occur they can usually be tackled in such a way as to not affect the final result. However, unexpected and serious complications like infection, haemorrhage and retinal-detachment can occur and cause permanent decrease in vision. It is necessary that you have knowledge of these possibilities.

Consent for Surgery

On the day of admission you will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand your diagnosis, the surgery that you are about to undergo and the possibility of complications. If you do not understand please ask the doctor to clear your doubts.

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