The YAG laser is the laser used to clear the frosting from the back surface of an intraocular lens. Read more about the procedure below.
A cataract is much like a smartie or M&M. It has an outer coating (capsule) and an inner nucleus (the chocolate in the smartie). When an eye surgeon performs cataract/lens surgery the surgeon makes a circular opening in the front facing capsule of the lens and then removes the inner nucleus. The remaining capsular envelope supports the new artificial lens which is typically injected in through the opening in the capsule. Over time the capsule shrinks and wraps around the new lens much like shrink wrap or cling film.
As the capsule contains live cells some capsule can develop a layer of new cells that form a frosting on the back surface of the lens. This is called posterior capsular opacification (PCO) or an after-cataract and can occur in up to 10% of patients after lens/cataract surgery. The frosted layer is much like the frosting on a window which can blur the view through the window and similarly through the new lens. PCO can occur at any time after surgery including a few weeks to months later.
In some surgeries an adherent plaque may be present on the capsule and a surgeon may prefer to leave this rather than risk tearing the capsule. In these cases early treatment to clear the frosting may be necessary.
Looking for more information on what sets our cataract surgery apart? Our free cataract surgery brochure contains all the information you need
The YAG laser is the laser used to clear the frosting from the back surface of an intraocular lens. YAG laser treatment is painless and is completed from outside the eye in a few minutes. During YAG laser treatment your eye doctor may use a magnifying contact lens to help with aiming the YAG laser at the layer of frosting. During the treatment patients will see flashes of light and hear a clicking sound. The pupil needs to be dilated before YAG laser can be performed to allow a good view of the lens surface.
After the treatment your doctor will prescribe a short course of anti-inflammatory and pressure drops. Most patients will noticed an improvement in clarity and vision within a day. YAG laser treatments are typically only needed once as the capsule does not regrow after it is vaporised by the YAG.
Complications after YAG laser are very rare but can include vitreous floaters, raised eye pressure, retinal swelling, lens damage and very rarely retinal detachment.
You are always at the centre of everything we do. We do not offer a one size fits all approach but rather customise every single treatment to your individual visual needs, so you’ll always get the best procedure for your eyes and your vision
Our surgeons are known the world over and are some of the best in the country, with over 30,000 completed surgeries between them. We treat many surgeons, doctors and anaesthetists who also refer their friends and family to us as they know they will be in safe hands with our expert surgeons.
We have spared no expense. Eye surgery requires perfect precision, that’s why we have invested in only the latest and most advanced technology. We are not tied into any particular company or manufacturer which means we have complete freedom to chose the best from the many options
Patients need to be able to trust us with their eyes. We are honest with our approach and offer the very best evidence-based treatment with your best interests always at heart. We pride ourselves on recruiting and retaining the best staff in the business to ensure that you are supported throughout every step of your journey.
If you have questions about YAG laser treatment and the options that are available for you, please call us on 0203 369 2020, or request a call back.
Last updated on
October 16th, 2023
Ms Laura de Benito-Llopis