The most common complication of adults having standard extracapsular surgery or phacoemulsification for cataracts is clouding of the part of the lens covering (capsule) that remains after surgery, called posterior capsule opacification. If the cloudiness affects your vision, you may choose to have a laser treatment called Nd:YAG posterior capsulotomy to correct this problem.
A laser (Nd:YAG laser) is used to cut a hole in the clouded back lining of the lens capsule to allow light to pass through the membrane to the retina at the back of the eye.
Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy is an outpatient procedure. It does not require anesthesia, and it is painless. The person may wait in the outpatient surgery area or the doctor’s office after the procedure so that he or she can have the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure) checked. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is the pressure caused by the fluid inside the eye that helps keep the shape of the eye.
After cataract surgery, some people notice cloudiness (sometimes called aftercataract) after several months or years. In some people, it can become very dense and cause as much or more vision loss as the original cataract. The decision to have this procedure is based on
- Vision problems are affecting your work or lifestyle.
- Glare caused by bright lights is a problem.
- You cannot pass a vision test required for a driver’s license.
- You have double vision.
- The difference in vision between your two eyes is significant.
- You have another vision-threatening eye disease.
Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy reduces glare and improves vision. It lets light pass through cloudy regions of the lens capsule that may develop after cataract surgery.
The most common complication of Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy is short-term increased pressure inside the eye.
Other risks include:
- Detachment of the nerve layer at the back of the eye (retinal detachment).
- Swelling of the center of the retina (macular edema).
- Damage or displacement of the intraocular lens.
- Bleeding into the front of the eye.
- Swelling of the clear covering of the eye (corneal edema).