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.

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About the author

Mr Tariq Ayoub
Mr Tariq Ayoub, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Mr Ayoub has been rated as one of the top eye surgeons in the UK. He is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, one of the largest NHS trusts in England. He is also the Lead for the Emergency Department at Western Eye Hospital, as part of the Imperial College Trust.

Mr Ayoub completed his Ophthalmology training at the prestigious London School of Ophthalmology, namely at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. During his career, he has received many prestigious awards from national and international organisations for his work in the field of ophthalmology.

His clinical interests include treatment for cataracts, vision correction, corneal disease, eye-lid disorders, trauma, and general ophthalmology. Mr Ayoub prides himself on the high quality of his work. With his extensive experience, he can holistically manage complex eye conditions to deliver the best care for his patients.

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