Yag laser capsulotomy

What is a Yag laser capsulotomy?

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. A new plastic lens was put inside the lens membrane (called the bag or capsule) in your eye.

Yag laser capsulotomy

In a small number of patients, the capsule thickens after surgery and becomes cloudy. This interferes with the light reaching the back of the eye. When this happens, your sight becomes misty, and you may get glare in bright light or from lights at night-time. Capsule thickening can happen in the months after your cataract operation, but more commonly occurs about two 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 we use a special lens to apply a laser beam to the capsule. This creates a small hole in the centre of the capsule, which lets light through to the retina as the back of the eye and restore your vision.

What are the benefits?

The laser treatment is to remove the cloudy capsule thickening in your eye, which aims to restore your vision to how it was after your cataract operation.

Are there any risks?

Complications after this treatment are very uncommon. Extremely rarely, some patients can get a build- up of fluid in the macula, the part of the eye responsible for detailed central vision. This build-up of fluid is called macular oedema (swelling), which causes blurring or distortion of vision. Another extremely rare complication is retinal detachment, when the fine light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye can come away from the wall of the eye. Some patients notice an increase number of floaters in their vision, but often this settles over time.

Are there any alternatives?

An alternative to a Yag laser capsulotomy is to do nothing. The capsule may or may not continue to thicken. If it does, you may wish to consider a Yag laser capsulotomy at a later date.


Before Laser: Posterior capsular thickening behind the plastic lens implanted at the time of cataract surgery.
Yag laser capsulotomy

After Laser: The clearance of the thickening using a laser to allow light to pass through to the retina.
Yag laser capsulotomy


Further information...
At the QMC please call Sharna Croft on: 07983 434881
At the Nottingham Spire Hospital please call Abigail Lawton on: 0115 9377683
At BMI Park Hospital please call Dorothy Robinson on: 0115 9662293
Alternatively, leave a message on our contact form.