In cataract surgery, the IOL is implanted within the natural lens capsule, a thin diaphanous membrane which encases the natural lens and is often likened to the skin of a grape. In the months after surgery, the lens capsule shrink wraps the IOL and stabilises it definitively in the natural position. Sometimes the lens capsule becomes opaque during this shrink wrapping process; visual quality deteriorates, and it can feel as if the cataract is coming back. The timing of this complication, called posterior capsular opacification (PCO) is variable. But affected patients will typically notice a visual deterioration and problems with light scatter 6 months to 3 years after surgery.
In PCO, thickening and opacification of the lens capsule just behind the IOL degrades vision and scatters light within the eye. Excessive dazzle from oncoming car headlights is a typical complaint in affected patients.
PCO is corrected by cutting through the opaque lens capsule to restore a clear pathway for light to focus on the retina. This is done with a YAG laser in a painless 15-minute corrective procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy. YAG laser capsulotomy normally restores vision to the level it was originally at after cataract surgery within 24 hours.
YAG Capsulotomy is an effective treatment for PCO. The YAG laser is used to remove the opacified tissue from behind the IOL restoring a clear pathway for light transmission and good quality vision.