What is YAG Laser Treatment?

YAG Laser Treatment (YAG) stands for ‘Yttrium aluminum garnet’, and is the crystal used in a laser as the ‘lasing medium’.

At Eye Wales we use YAG laser capsulotomy to treat a condition called posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which can develop after a lens implant procedure.

PCO, sometimes called “after-cataract”, occurs when a cloudy layer of scar tissue forms behind your lens implant.

It is a simple procedure that is performed commonly and which is very safe.

We also use YAG laser peripheral iridotomy as a treatment for glaucoma patients who have angle closure. Angle closure means that fluid can not circulate through the eye properly leading to increased pressure in the eye. Complications after this treatment are uncommon, and the treatment is painless due to the anaesthetic drop used to numb your eye.

YAG laser treatment Eye Wales

What is YAG Laser Capsulotomy?

Lens replacement surgery is very safe, and has a very high rate of success, however we expect that around ten percent of lens replacement patients may develop a condition called posterior capsule opacification (PCO) within two years of having the surgery.

When your lens replacement was performed, the new lens will have been placed inside the lens membrane where your natural lens used to be. This membrane is called a bag or capsule. In around ten percent of patients this capsule can thicken within two years of the surgery and become cloudy. The effect that this has on vision is that it may look as if the cataract is coming back, or that you’re looking through frosted glass. You could also get glare from lights at night time or if you are in bright light.

YAG laser capsulotomy is the only way to treat PCO. In a YAG laser capsulotomy we will use a special lens to apply a laser beam to the capsule to create a small hole in its centre which allows light into the eye.

It will restore the quality of vision that you had after lens replacement surgery, and is a safe, non invasive procedure.

Eye Diagram Eye Wales Graphic

What is YAG Laser Capsulotomy like?

YAG laser capsulotomy treatment is completely painless. It ought to take around ten minutes to perform. We will put eye drops into your eye to make the pupil big, along with an anaesthetic eye drop so that the surface of your eye is numb and feels no pain.

When your lens replacement was performed, the new lens will have been placed inside the lens membrane where your natural lens used to be. This membrane is called a bag or capsule. After you have been given eye drops we will put a special contact lens on your eye which allows us to view the capsule clearly.

YAG laser treatment Eye Wales

You will then sit with your chin resting on a machine which is very similar to the one used in your routine eye examination, but which has a special laser attached. The laser beam is then applied to make a small hole in the capsule and clear your vision.

The treatment is painless due to the anaesthetic drops used to numb your eye beforehand. Around an hour afterwards we will need to check your eye pressure and to examine the eye to check the hole in the capsule.

In some cases you may be given eye drops or tablets after the procedure.

What is YAG Laser Peripheral Iridotomy?

YAG laser peripheral iridotomy is a treatment used to treat angle closure.

Angle closure is a condition which obstructs the natural drainage channels in your eye and causes the pressure in your eye to rise.

In the healthy eye, the fluid called aqueous humour flows freely into the front of your eye through the pupil then drains away through channels called the trabecular meshwork.

If you have angle closure this means that the coloured part of the eye, the iris, can move forward and obstruct the drainage channels meaning that the fluid can not escape from the eye.

This build up of fluid means your eye pressure (called intraocular pressure) increases injuring and damaging your vision.

We use YAG laser peripheral iridotomy to create a small hole in your iris to form a permanent small passage which allows the excess fluid to escape. The laser is used to push the iris tissue backward to unblock the drainage channels.

What is YAG Laser Peripheral Iridotomy like?

Unless you have been asked not to, you must use any regular eye medication drops as you normally do on the day of your laser treatment.

The treatment will take around twenty minutes and will be painless. You may experience slight discomfort when the laser is being applied.

First we will examine your eye, and check the pressure, and then we will put eye drops into your eye to make the pupil smaller along with an anaesthetic eye drop so that the surface of your eye is numb and feels no pain. We will use another drop which will lower the intraocular pressure.

YAG laser treatment Eye Wales

You will then sit at a machine similar to the machine used to examine your eyes at the eye clinic. However, there is a special laser attached to this machine.

After you have been given eye drops we will put a special contact lens on your eye which allows us to view your iris clearly. This is so that the laser can be applied to make the hole in your iris.

You will then sit with your chin resting on a machine which is very similar to the one used in your routine eye examination, but which has a special laser attached.

The laser beam is then applied to make a small hole in the iris and relieve the pressure inside your eye.

Some time afterwards we will need to check your eye pressure and to check that the newly formed opening is working well.

What is YAG Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)?

YAG selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a treatment used to treat angle closure. Angle closure is a condition that obstructs the natural drainage channels in your eye and causes the pressure in your eye to rise.

In the healthy eye, the fluid called aqueous humour flows freely into the front of your eye, through the pupil, then drains away through channels called the trabecular meshwork. In some eyes, these drainage channels do not function properly. The build up of fluid means your eye pressure (called intraocular pressure) increases, damaging your vision.

We use YAG selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) to apply a laser beam to the drainage channels, which helps to unblock them. The fluid in your eye can then flow through the channels more easily, which reduces the pressure in your eye.

Inspecting Eye Map Eye Wales

What is YAG Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) like?

If you normally use any eye medication, you must continue to do so on the day of your laser treatment unless you have been advised not to.

The treatment will take around twenty minutes and will be painless. You may experience slight discomfort when the laser is being applied. 

First, we will examine your eye and check the pressure. Next, we will put drops into your eye to make the pupil smaller along with an anaesthetic, so that the surface of your eye is numb and feels no pain. We will use another drop which will protect your eye from any spikes in pressure.

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