A posterior capsulotomy is a non-invasive laser procedure to eliminate posterior capsule opacification (PCO). This is necessary after Cataract Surgery when the thin clear membrane (lens capsule) surrounding the natural lens that is left intact to support the artificial lens becomes cloudy sometime later.
While some people often refer to this as a “secondary cataract,” it not really a cataract at all. Once Cataracts have been removed, they do not grow back. This occurs when lens epithelial cells remain after cataract surgery and grow on the capsule, which can take place weeks, months or even years later. Studies show that about 20% of cataract surgery patients experience this type of haziness in the posterior portion of the capsule some time after their cataract surgery.
What to Expect
When PCO develops, a YAG laser is used to create an opening in the center of the cloudy capsule. This opening allows clear passage of light rays which eliminates the cloudiness that is inhibiting vision.
This procedure is not considered surgery, even when done at a surgical facility, as there are no incisions made or surgical instruments used. The procedure is safe, effectively and painless, and can often be performed at the doctor’s office.
Other things you should expect:
- The eye is normally dilated before the procedure using drops
- The procedure takes only a few minutes and is entirely painless
- You must remain still during the procedure
- Certain patients (children or mentally disabled) may require sedation
- Anti-inflammatory eye drops will likely be given
- You should experience NO post-operative discomfort
- Most people can expect their vision to improve almost immediately
- Vision will be a little blurry from the drops, so you will need a ride home
- Visit your regular eye doctor within a month to have your vision checked
A Posterior Capsulotomy is a safe and effective procedure and the majority patients are able to resume normal activities immediately. In some cases, floaters may be experienced for a few weeks afterward, but serious complications as a result of a posterior capsulotomy are extremely rare.