YAG laser capsulotomy is a highly successful procedure with a very low risk of complications. Floaters are a common side effect after YAG capsulotomy but should settle steadily after the treatment.
The possible complications are:
- Retinal tear. It is normal and common to get floaters after YAG capsulotomy, and these can take several weeks or even months to settle down. But if you develop lots of little black floaters, or lots of flashing lights it is possible that you have a retinal tear. This requires laser treatment to minimise the risk of a retinal detachment. If you develop a shadow or curtain in your vision it is possible that you are developing a retinal detachment. If you have any of these symptoms, please contact me or the Sussex Eye Hospital casualty urgently. The risk of retinal tear or retinal detachment after YAG capsulotomy is extremely low but is higher in people who have had previous retinal tears or detachments and in people who are very short sighted (myopic), in whom it may be around 1%.
- Inflammation (approximately 1 in 200 people) and/or high pressure in the eye (less than 1:500): if you develop increasing pain, light sensitivity, reduced vision or redness of the eye, please contact me or the eye casualty at the Sussex Eye Hospital urgently. The risk of inflammation after YAG capsulotomy is around 1 in 200 people and of high pressure, probably less than 1:500.
- Damage to the intra-ocular lens from the laser, affecting the clarify of the lens. This complication can occur when the laser practitioner is inexperienced but is extremely unlikely if the procedure is being done by someone who has performed this procedure many times before.
- Cystoid macular oedema. This is fluid leakage or swelling of an area of the retina at the back of the eye and can cause the vision to become a bit cloudy. It generally settles without intervention or with eye drops, but very occasionally requires an injection in the eye. The risk thought to be significantly less than 1:100 people.
The overall risk of visual loss from YAG capsulotomy is around 1 in 5000 procedures.