What to Expect
NOTE: These are generic instructions so that you can know what to expect, in general. Specific instructions/information unique to your needs will be given to you at your first clinic visit. Individual results will vary. This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.
YAG Laser Capsulotomy – Scheduling an Appointment
Posterior capsule opacification (PCO also called “secondary cataract”) is the most common reason we see patients back after a successful cataract surgery. A visit to our office usually begins when your primary eye doctor has diagnosed you with PCO . Your primary eye doctor is the optometrist or ophthalmologist who sees you on a routine (annual) basis for glasses, contacts, or other eye issues. Your primary eye doctor may schedule your appointment, or you may call and schedule an appointment once you have been told you have PCO requiring laser treatment.
Our phone number for appointments is (806) 792-2104.
Your First Visit
At your first appointment your eyes will be dilated, so having a driver to take you home is advised. This appointment will be a clinic visit. You will receive a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate how severely the PCO (posterior capsule opacification also called “secondary cataract”) is impacting your vision. In most cases, the YAG laser capsulotomy can be performed the same day as your clinic visit.
What is Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO)?
When you originally had cataract surgery, the surgeon opened a membrane (or capsule) in your eye that held the cataract. The surgeon then removed the cloudy cataract from that membrane. Finally a lens implant (a new, clear plastic lens) was inserted into that membrane. So the membrane/capsule is almost always left intact in order to have a place to put the new lens implant.
In some patients, that natural membrane holding your lens implant can develop a scar tissue on it. This scar tissue can make your vision blurry or cloudy again. Or it can lead to lots of glare with oncoming headlights or in bright light conditions. This scar tissue is called Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO).
Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) is sometimes referred to as “secondary cataract.” Patient’s often ask, “Did the cataract come back?” The answer is no, the cataract did not come back. However, there is a scar tissue that may develop on the natural membrane/capsule holding the lens implant. This is a different process than developing a cataract and is treated in a completely different way compared to cataracts. In general the treatment for PCO is faster and simpler than a full cataract surgery.
How is PCO Treated?
Luckily this scar tissue can be treated with a relatively quick laser procedure. The procedure is called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy. It does NOT require a trip to the full operating room. The procedure usually takes one or two minutes and is no more uncomfortable than a regular eye exam. Most patients do not require any postoperative eye drops, and patients usually see significantly better the next day (after the eye dilation drops have worn off).
Usually, your clinic evaluation and YAG laser capsulotomy procedure can be performed on the same day. Routinely, patients will have only one postoperative clinic visit at Wilson Surgicenter after YAG laser capsulotomy. This visit is to ensure that the vision has improved, and everything looks good with the laser procedure. Very rarely, your surgeon may advise that you have a “touch-up” laser at this visit to to further improve your vision. Once the scar tissue is opened with a laser, it almost never grows back.
Returning to Your Primary Eye Care Provider
After your follow up visit, you will return to the care of your primary eye care provider (the optometrist or ophthalmologist who referred you to Wilson Surgicenter). He/she will see you for your routine annual exams, glasses/contacts, and refer you back if they ever see anything that we need to see.
If your primary eye care provider has diagnosed you with posterior capsule opacification (PCO) or “secondary cataract,” you would probably benefit from a YAG laser capsulotomy. In general, it is a relatively simple, fast, and painless procedure that can improve your vision.
At Wilson Surgicenter, we look forward to taking great care of you, your eyes, and your family!