Nd: Yag Laser Capsulotomy: An unsung hero
Nd YAG laser capsulotomy is an outpatient procedure done in patients post-cataract surgery, who have developed posterior capsule opacification.
When a patient has cataract surgery, the ophthalmologist removes the eye’s cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is held in place in the eye’s natural lens capsule. Weeks, months or years later, this capsule can become cloudy or wrinkled, causing blurry vision. This is called posterior capsule opacification (PCO). PCO is the most common delayed complication of cataract surgery. Its reported frequency ranges from 8.7% to 33.4%.
Symptoms of PCO:
- Blurred/hazy vision
- Coloured rings around lights
- The glare of oncoming headlights
Nd: YAG laser capsulotomy is accepted as a standard treatment for PCO. In this procedure, a laser is used to make an opening in the cloudy capsule. Thus, the procedure helps to restore clear vision.
The procedure is done in the outpatient department. It only takes about 5 minutes and a special Nd: Yag laser machine is used.
- The eye is dilated with eye drops prior to the procedure.
- The ophthalmologist will point the laser at the back of the lens capsule and make a small opening.
- Once vision is clear after the procedure, usually, all normal daily activities can be resumed. Recovery is quick and painless.
- The patient is given eye drops for one week after the procedure.
- If there are no other eye problems affecting the vision, sight should improve in about 24 hours.
What Are the Risks of Posterior Capsulotomy?
As with any procedure, there are possible risks and complications with posterior capsulotomy. Some of them are:
- The pressure in the eye may increase.
- There may be swelling in the eye, which may need to be treated with steroid eye drops.
- Retinal detachment (where the tissue lifts from the back of your eye). The patient may see what looks like a grey curtain moving across the field of vision. They might also see a lot of floaters or flashes of light. You should call your ophthalmologist immediately if this happens to your vision.
- The IOL might move through the posterior capsule opening(if it is too big).
Overall it is a very safe and effective treatment for restoring pre-operative vision in a patient with visual problems due to PCO. It offers immediate visual recovery from the next day onwards and patients are very happy with the outcome
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