Oculase Articles

How effective is posterior capsular opacification treatment?

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 4 Aug 2022

We usually treat posterior capsular opacification (PCO) with a YAG laser capsulotomy. Keep reading to learn how effective posterior capsular opacification treatment is. We also discuss how safe a YAG capsulotomy is and the risks of the procedure.

 

Treatment of posterior capsular opacification

An Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy is currently the recommended treatment for PCO. ND:YAG stands for neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet – the crystal we use to generate the low-energy laser beam.

YAG laser capsulotomy involves using a laser to create a small hole at the back of your lens capsule. It takes less than 15 minutes and requires no stitches. We use anaesthetising eye drops to ensure the procedure is painless. Though, you may feel some discomfort as your eyes recover. 

We may use a contact lens to stabilise the position of your lens during the procedure. This can make your eyes feel a bit sore after the treatment.

While waiting for your treatment, you might find the following useful to help you see better.

  • Brighter lighting
  • Using a wide range of colours in your day-to-day tools
  • Increasing the font or screen size on your electronic devices

Without treatment, your PCO symptoms may become more severe as PCO cannot get better on its own.

 

How effective is posterior capsular opacification treatment?

YAG laser capsulotomy is a highly effective PCO treatment with a success rate of over 95%. After 1-2 days, you should notice an improvement in your vision. We usually only need to perform a YAG capsulotomy once. 

In rare cases, we may need to enlarge the YAG capsulotomy. While rare, there is a chance that your PCO could return or the capsule opening could shrink.

After treatment, your recovery should be quick. Though you should contact us immediately if you experience the following symptoms.

  • A moving shadow or ‘dark curtain’ across your vision
  • A sudden and very noticeable increase in floaters
  • Pain not resolved with painkillers
  • Worsening sight
  • Flashing lights

If your symptoms after PCO treatment are worrying you, book an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists.

 

Is YAG laser capsulotomy safe?

Serious complications from YAG capsulotomy are rare. But, you may experience some temporary side effects.

Side effects of YAG laser capsulotomy:

  • Lens damage
  • Haloes/ glares
  • A high number of floaters
  • Change in glasses prescription

 

Our video below on the risks and side effects of YAG laser capsulotomy explains more.

 

Floaters are one of the most common side effects of YAG laser capsulotomy, but they usually settle with time.

Other risks of YAG capsulotomy:

  • Retinal damage
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • Cystoid macular oedema
  • Raised intraocular pressure
  • Damage to the intraocular lens
  • Movement of the intraocular lens

 

Book private PCO treatment at Oculase

If you experience posterior capsular opacification after cataract surgery, we are here to help. Our expert ophthalmologists can guide you through a tailored treatment plan to improve your vision after diagnosing your PCO.

Book an appointment to arrange quick treatment and prioritise your eye health today.

 

 

 

Resources

Hollingworth W, Rooshenas L, Busby J, et al. Using clinical practice variations as a method for commissioners and clinicians to identify and prioritise opportunities for disinvestment in health care: a cross-sectional study, systematic reviews and qualitative study. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2015 Apr. (Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 3.13.) Chapter 6, Case study 2: interventions for treating posterior capsule opacification – a rapid systematic review. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK285250/

 

Katsanos A, Tsaldari N, Gorgoli K, Lalos F, Stefaniotou M, Asproudis I. Safety and Efficacy of YAG Laser Vitreolysis for the Treatment of Vitreous Floaters: An Overview. Adv Ther. 2020 Apr;37(4):1319-1327. doi: 10.1007/s12325-020-01261-w. Epub 2020 Feb 21. PMID: 32086749; PMCID: PMC7140748.

 

Khambhiphant B, Liumsirijarern C, Saehout P. The effect of Nd:YAG laser treatment of posterior capsule opacification on anterior chamber depth and refraction in pseudophakic eyes. Clin Ophthalmol. 2015;9:557-561

https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S80220 

 

Steinert RF, Puliafito CA, Kumar SR, Dudak SD, Patel S. Cystoid macular edema, retinal detachment, and glaucoma after Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy. Am J Ophthalmol. 1991 Oct 15;112(4):373-80. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)76242-7. PMID: 1928237.

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