What is a laser capsulotomy?
After cataract surgery, 30 – 50% of patients can develop a film along the back of the bag (lens capsule) where the artificial lens is placed. While this lens that replaces the eye's natural lens during cataract surgery cannot develop cataracts, patients may experience posterior capsule opacification (PCO) or a haziness within this bag-like structure. PCO may occur weeks, months, or even years after cataract treatment and can cause blurry vision, glare, or other visual symptoms.
Posterior capsule opacification, commonly referenced as a "secondary cataract," is generally addressed with a procedure called a laser capsulotomy. This minimally invasive process harnesses laser energy to clear the hazy portion of the capsule and allow light to pass through to the retina, thus increasing visual acuity. At West County Ophthalmology, we are pleased to offer laser capsulotomy to patients in Chesterfield and O'Fallon, MO. If you have developed blurry or hazy vision after cataract removal, please contact one of our locations to request an exam and treatment consultation.
How is a laser capsulotomy performed?
During your consultation, one of our board-certified ophthalmologists will determine if you are a good candidate for laser capsulotomy. Candidates for this procedure are often those who have had cataract surgery with no new complications (other than their current blurry or hazy vision due to PCO), are in good general health, and have no other current eye conditions (such as high internal eye pressure or macular edema).
Laser capsulotomy is performed within our ophthalmology facilities and takes approximately 10 –15 minutes to complete. Your pupils will be dilated to prepare your eyes for the procedure. Numbing drops will also be placed in your eyes to increase your comfort. When the medications have taken effect, your ophthalmologist will direct a state-of-the-art laser toward the back of the posterior capsule, where it will target the clouded structure and create a central opening. Removing haziness within the back wall of this structure allows light to pass through uninhibited, improving your vision.
Treatment for blurry vision after cataract surgery
Our team will provide aftercare instructions and information on what to expect during laser capsulotomy recovery. It is important to adhere to all of these instructions to help facilitate the best possible outcome for your procedure and vision. A follow-up visit to asses your healing progress and vision improvement may also be recommended. Many patients who undergo laser capsulotomy are able to immediately return to their normal activities and may even notice a significant improvement in their visual acuity.
If, several months (or even years) after cataract surgery, you have new blurring of your vision or other symptoms, it may be due to posterior capsule opacification. This condition may be treated by our ophthalmologists with a simple laser capsulotomy. To receive specialized care for posterior capsule opacification or other eye concerns, please request an appointment with a member of our West County Ophthalmology team.
Laser Capsulotomy FAQ
Can I drive after laser capsulotomy?
Before your PCO treatment, we will dilate your eyes, which may cause you to have blurry vision. We suggest you have a friend or family member drive you home after your appointment. You should, however, be able to drive the following day.
How long does it take to recover from laser capsulotomy?
Most of our patients who have laser capsulotomy in our O'Fallen or Chesterfield, MO facilities can resume their everyday activities the next day. However, it can take up to two days to begin seeing clearly. You may experience floaters over the next few weeks, but this is normal and should decrease over time.
Does insurance cover laser capsulotomy procedures?
Your medical insurance may partially cover laser capsulotomy. Our team will work with you to understand your insurance benefits and out-of-pocket expenses.
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