YAG

Return of Blurry Vision After Cataract Surgery

I had both my Cataract Surgeries in October last year, a short five months ago. My vision was so amazing after surgery I felt like I was on cloud nine!

Cataract Surgery, A Patient’s Journal

Cataract Surgery, A Patient's Journal

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But over the last 4-6 weeks, I started noticing I was needing my drugstore readers more and more often because I couldn’t focus on the smaller print again, or the light was too dim. Now I have the Symfony lenses, so super fine print and low light required the readers on occasion, but this was beginning to be an increasing necessity. I was scheduled for a dilated followup, so I waited until that visit to discuss with my surgeon.

I work here at The Harman Eye Clinic, so I knew what was happening… I had Posterior Capsular Opacity (PCO) and was going to need a YAG Laser* treatment. I’ve been here long enough to know that 20-30% of cataract patients develop significant PCO and require this treatment to clear up their vision. I also know it can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 20+ years before it’s needed! Some people refer to it as an “after cataract” because it’s something that develops after cataract surgery. It’s also referred to as a “secondary cataract” which also means after cataract. It isn’t the cataract coming back. It’s not something that went wrong with your surgery. It’s just that some people can develop a thickening of the back (posterior) of the lens capsule which holds the artificial lens in place. This thickening of the capsule causes your vision to become cloudy (opaque).

Sure enough, my exam showed that glare was back and my vision was decreased. Time to schedule the YAG appointments.

While the procedure name sounds pretty unusual, the procedure itself is fairly simple. There weren’t any restrictions… in fact it’s a lot like going for an eye exam! Vitals, drops to dilate the eye that was going to be treated, sit down in front of the laser with your chin in a chin rest, focus on a little green light for a few minutes and you’re done. The surgeon uses the laser to create a small opening in the capsule to allow what you see to get to your retina without having to pass through that opaque tissue. My surgeon explained that I might notice some floaters afterwards (which I didn’t) and to call if I had problems.

I used some artificial tears after I got home because my eye felt dry, and I was dilated for a couple of hours. I drove myself, went shopping on my way home and resumed normal activities… except I couldn’t read through that blurry eye!

*YAG is the abbreviation for Yttrium Aluminum Garnet which is a crystal that is used as a lasing medium (see, YAG is much easier!).

Learn more from a video about Yag LasersI