Posterior capsulotomy is a surgical procedure that is often needed to restore clear vision after cataract surgery. It may be recommended soon after cataract surgery or frequently several years later. It is a quick and painless procedure.
What Does the Capsule have to do with the Cataract Surgery?
The normal lens of the eye has a cellophane-like outer lining called the capsule which surrounds the lens substance. When a cataract is removed, the back part of the capsule is usually left intact. This gives the advantage of maintaining the normal barrier between the two inside compartments of the eye. The back part of the capsule helps to support the intraocular lens implant, which is usually placed in the eye at the time of the cataract surgery.
Why is a Posterior Capsulotomy Necessary?
The posterior capsule is normally clear; however, with time, this capsule can itself become cloudy or wrinkled. Once again, this wrinkling or cloudiness that is part of the normal healing process in a certain percentage of people can interfere with vision. If this happens, a surgical opening in the capsule can be made to again restore normal sight.
It is not necessary to remove the capsule, but only to make an opening in its center to allow clear passage of light rays. The laser procedure requires close and precise focusing of the laser by the ophthalmologist, but is usually painless and generally works quickly to improve vision.
When Should a Capsulotomy be Performed?
If the vision worsens after cataract surgery, it is important to consult your ophthalmologist. If the change in vision is affecting your daily life and your ophthalmologist feels the capsule is at fault, then the procedure will be recommended.
What Should I Expect After the Laser Capsulotomy?
Usually within a few hours of the procedure, the patient will notice clearer vision. It is not unusual for the patient to see floaters for a few weeks following the procedure.