Stephen Lash Eye Surgery

YAG Laser Capsulotomy (Making a hole in the cloudy capsule of the lens) for Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO)

Quite frequently after cataract surgery the capsule will try to heal and form scar tissue. The capsule is the coloured coating of the smartie that we leave behind to put the new plastic lens in. This can be treated safely and easily with a laser known as a YAG laser. The process of the capsule going cloudy is called PCO or Posterior (The back) Capsular (The capsule) Opacification (Clouding)

What will you notice if you get PCO?

If the capsule thickens then you will feel like your cataract has grown back. It will be like looking through some greasy cling film. You may get haze or starbursts or doubling of images as the light is split and interfered with as it passes through the cloudy capsule. The vision may be much worse in sunlight as the light is scattered. It can happen soon after or many years after surgery.

What can be done?

If you think you have developed PCO then go and see your optometrist (Optician). The optometrist has the kit and expertise required to diagnose this and rule out other causes of a slow reduction in vision after cataract surgery. Once they have diagnosed it they can send you in directly for laser saving you extra appointments and wasted time for you. If PCO is confirmed you will have one set of dilating drops into the eye so that we get a clear shot at the back of the capsule and can make the opening as wide as possible to reduce glare. You will need to be driven in as you cannot drive with the pupil dilated. Your head rests on the familiar slit lamp but this slit lamp has a laser attached to it. I tend to use a contact lens to get a clear focus and take away the pressure for you to keep the eye open! To put this lens on I would use a local anaesthetic drop and so it is all PAINLESS. Once I am lined up it is a case of 'point and shoot' at the capsule to create a small split which is then enlarged into a diamond shaped split. The lens is very secure and scarred into the capsule around the edges and this procedure does not change your spectacle prescription. It takes a few minutes to complete and recovery is very rapid over minutes with the best vision returning when the dilating drops wear off after a couple of hours. I really like this treatment as it is painless, quick and can significantly improve vision.