YAG Capsulotomy Complications
Since the 1980s, the YAG laser has been used primarily to remove the cloudiness following cataract removal with its high-powered, short burst of power. YAG, which stands for yttrium-aluminum-garnet, has been the standard of care for decades.
Called opacification, the condition that the YAG capsulotomy is designed to eliminate consists of a cloudy covering that develops over your eye once cataracts have been removed. The secondary procedure that’s performed in the majority of cataract removal cases is required when another lens forms over the eye and requires YAG surgery. The secondary cataract surgery is performed in about three out of four people, and in nearly 100 percent of the cases involving cataract removal in children.
Complications Are Rare
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed in the United States. About three million people undergo cataract surgery every year, according to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. And the success rate overall ranks regularly at close to 98 percent.
The YAG laser procedure can take care of most of the problems that eventually occur. The in-office laser procedure isn’t even considered a serious threat to vision because it’s so common. The follow-up laser procedure takes only a couple minutes and is performed right in your ophthalmologist’s office.
Side Effects Can Occur
One of the ways that YAG Capsulotomy complications can arise is if you can’t hold still for the very short operation. You may be given a sedative if necessary because it’s vital that your head remain completely inactive. Children and people with mental handicaps often are sedated for the procedure. If you are very nervous about the laser, talk to your eye doctor about options.
It’s after the YAG laser treatment that you also may undergo some side effects. The most common side effect is the appearance of floaters. Floaters are little black lines and spots that appear in your field of vision. These usually subside within a few days, but if they persist for more than 48 hours, you should contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. Floaters may signal a more serious YAG Capsulotomy complications such as:
- Torn retina
- Bleeding in the back of your eye
Blurry vision also can be prolonged following cataract surgery and the subsequent YAG laser treatment. While most people can resume their normal activities shortly after the quick shot of the laser, if you have blurry vision, you should talk to your eye doctor, who can monitor your progress. Again, 48 hours is the point at which you should seek follow-up care.
Greater Risks of YAG Capsulotomy
Perhaps the greatest risk posed from the YAG procedure is the chance of getting a detached retina. A retinal detachment occurs about two percent of the time from the laser procedure. Alert your ophthalmologist if you have any of the symptoms that include:
- Clouded vision
- The appearance of floaters
- A seemingly grey cloud moving in your field of vision
- Shadows in your peripheral vision
Men taking medications for prostate abnormalities may be a greater risk of developing a condition called IFIS, which stands for intraoperative floppy iris syndrome. The drugs used to control urinary tract issues contains alpha-blockers that relax the bladder, making it easier to empty. Problems occur because the medication also relaxes your eye muscles, making cataract removal more difficult and subsequent YAG procedure ineffective because IFIS can lead to a detached retina.
Prior to any surgical procedure, always let your eye doctor know about any medications you’re taking, including seemingly innocuous drugs for prostate problems. Brief your doctor about any vitamins and supplements you’re taking as well.
Although rare, other problems can arise following the YAG capsulotomy procedure. Most of the additional YAG Capsulotomy complications occur when your eye surgeon is less than expert, which is why it’s vital that you talk to your ophthalmologist about his training and experience with the laser treatments. In the hands of an inexperienced eye doctor, the laser can be dangerous.
Your doctor must regulate the amount of heat projected by the laser as well as position it accurately. The less opaque your extra layer of tissue is, the harder it is to accurately gauge where to place the hole. Other even more random side effects can include:
- Development of glaucoma from the increased pressure on your eye
- Holes in the macula
- Swelling and inflammation
- Night glare increased because of an incorrect hole size
- Cystoid macular edema, which causes fluid-filled sacs to form on your eye
According to reports by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), complications following YAG capsulotomy are growing even rarer. With improved technology and a better quality of lenses, YAG Capsulotomy complications following YAG laser treatments are on the decline. In many cases, eye doctors don’t even wait for opacification to happen; they bring the YAG very shortly after performing the cataract removal and the placement of the new lens.
One of the newer techniques that have contributed to fewer YAG Capsulotomy complications is the use of square lenses, report some doctors. The more overlap that occurs with the lens, the less chance you have of developing floaters or increased ocular pressure when the hole is made with the laser.
Floaters remain the most common after-effect of YAG capsulotomy. Floaters after YAG surgery happen because of the transient debris created by all the interference going on during your surgeries. While floaters usually disappear within a couple weeks, they can be extremely disorienting.
Finally, the newest versions of the YAG lasers have led to one complication not previously seen in older YAG lasers: the possibility of pitting on your new lens. That’s because the settings must be spot-on or the placement of the laser beam easily can be misdirected.
In the end, YAG capsulotomy is safe than ever and remains one of the safest procedures performed in the United States in addition to being one of the most common. Talk to your ophthalmologist about your concerns and ask questions if you’re still unsure. He’ll gladly present you with his success rate and walk you through the entire process.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult eye doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified eye doctor can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about YAG Capsulotomy Complications and treatment in NYC? Would like to schedule an appointment with the leading Ophthalmologist in New York CIty, Optometrist Dr. Saba Khodadadian of Manhattan Eye Specialists, please contact our office for consultation with New York eye doctor.
Dr. Saba Khodadadian, Optometrist (NYC Eye Doctor)
New York, NY 10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 533-4821