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The lens of an eye is made up of two parts: an outer skin and an inner gel-like material. Once the inner area becomes cloudy, it is apparent that a cataract is beginning to form. Cataract surgery acts to remove the cloudy areas and replace them with a lens implant to restore vision. The outer skin, or capsule, remains in place.

What is a Secondary Cataract?

Due to the natural process of cell regeneration, the capsule can become cloudy as well. This isn’t caused by another cataract, but instead, the natural capsule that holds your new lens has become cloudy. It can happen so slowly that years can pass before you realize your reduced vision. Although glasses can help you see better, they may not be enough. Your eyes would then require additional laser surgery to regain lost vision.

What Procedure is Used?

The process of clearing a Secondary cataract is called a posterior capsulotomy or laser posterior capsulotomy. It is virtually pain-free, and is treated on an outpatient basis. The doctor focuses a beam of laser light into the lens implant, creating a tiny opening. This opening clears a path for light to enter into the eye. Multiple applications of the laser, known as a YAG laser, are required to create a new window through which light can pass. The procedure is simple and usually only takes a few minutes. No needles or stitches are used. Patients’ vision is restored soon after the procedure. Pain medication is not required for most. Tylenol¨ and aspirin can be used if necessary for pain.

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What is a YAG laser?

YAG stands for yttrium aluminum garnet. This laser produces infrared light impulses to create tiny openings in the targeted tissue by a process called photodisruption. Photodisruption is used to treat secondary cataracts and the iris. It is also sometimes used to help retinal problems in the back of the eye. What are the benefits of YAG laser treatment? Secondary cataract surgery is virtually pain free. Because a laser is used there is less risk of infection and inflammation. The treatment is performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure itself only takes a few minutes. However, the patient will be in the facility for 1-2 hours.


You will need to do the following after surgery:

  • Use the eye drops as prescribed
  • Be careful not to rub or press on your eye
  • Continue normal daily activities and moderate exercise

What are the possible complications?

  • Bleeding, swelling and retinal detachment are rare but possible complications faced with the laser capsulotomy or any ocular surgery.

Call our office if you experience any of the following after surgery: 904- 398-2720

  • Loss of vision
  • Pain that is not relieved by prescribed medications
  • Nausea, vomiting or excessive coughing
  • Injury to the eye