Laser for After-Cataract (or PCO)
Normally during cataract surgery, the capsule or bag of the cataract is preserved and the lens implant is placed in the capsule to hold the lens in place. Over time, this capsule can get cloudy. This is called an after-cataract or PCO, posterior capsular opacity. A laser treatment will clear the cloudiness by bursting the capsule open, so you are not looking through the cloudiness anymore. The laser type most commonly used is called a YAG laser. YAG stands for yttrium aluminum garnet, and it is used to form a laser to burst the capsule, removing the opacity behind the lens implant. The procedure takes about 5-10 minutes. When you arrive for the procedure, your eye will be dilated. Then eye drops are used to numb the eye, and the patient is sitting up to the laser attached to a bright light and a slit lamp. A lens is placed on the eye and the laser is performed through the lens by the surgeon. There is no pain, but the light is very bright. Often patients hear a popping noise as the laser breaks up the opacity. Afterwards, eye drops are placed and patients are free to go with no activity restrictions. We usually follow-up with a dilated exam in about 1 week. Some patients do see floaters the first day or so, but then the vision clears rather quickly in the next day or so.