Benefits of YAG Laser Treatment After Cataract Surgery


YAG laser for cataractsCataracts do not grow back after surgery. However, the odds are 50 percent that a film will eventually form over the implanted intraocular lens. At some point, perhaps years later, this lens will become cloudy or thickened and cause blurred vision. This condition is known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO). YAG laser treatment can correct this condition in just minutes.

Here, Dr. Gregory J. Johnson and Dr. Gail Kelley of Intracoastal Eye discuss the benefits of YAG laser treatment after cataract surgery.

What is YAG Laser Surgery?

Yttrium, Aluminum and Garnet crystals are used to generate the laser, hence the name YAG.

Performed in the ophthalmologist’s office, the entire procedure takes just five minutes. After numbing the eye with eyedrops, the doctor points the YAG laser at the back of the lens capsule. A tiny opening is made in the center of the capsule. This clears vision.

The procedure is painless. The patient sits behind the YAG laser and moves their eyes as directed by the physician. Generally, each affected eye is treated with about 50 laser pulses.

This is one of the few eye procedures after which you can drive yourself home from the appointment if you do not have an alternative. There are few restrictions on activities post-procedure, although your doctor will inform you if there are temporary limits based on your patient profile. Medicated eyedrops may prove necessary for several days. Mild discomfort the following day is normal.

Vision is noticeably improved within 24 hours. There is usually no reason to repeat the YAG laser procedure.

PCO Risks

PCO with YAG laser surgery is very safe. As with any laser surgery, there are potential risks and side effects, but these are rare.

You may notice more floaters in your vision. These are spots or cobwebby strings that move as your eyes do. Look directly at them and they seem to dash away. Most floaters result from changes in the vitreous, the gel-like substance within the eyes, as it becomes more liquid with age. Floaters do not go away, but patients get used to them and do not notice them much.

There is also an increased risk of pressure within the eye. In a worst-case scenario, the retina may detach.

Contact Us

If you have had cataract surgery and want to know more about the benefits of YAG laser treatment, schedule a consultation with ophthalmologist Dr. Gregory J. Johnson or optometrist Dr. Gail Kelley at Intracoastal Eye. At Intracoastal Eye, we provide a complete range of eye care services, from regular examinations to surgical procedures.