Although a doctor can perform a YAG laser capsulotomy procedure very soon after cataract surgery, ophthalmologists recommend waiting one to two months. This allows the intraocular lens implant placed during cataract surgery to settle in place fully and to avoid additional inflammation immediately after the operation, notes EyeSmart.
During cataract surgery the surgeon removes the natural lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens implant, says the American Optometric Association. It is typically an outpatient procedure that lasts less than an hour. The surgeon leaves part of the eye's natural lens in place during cataract surgery to provide support for the artificial lens. This residual lens may become cloudy and impair the patient's vision leading to a condition known as posterior capsule opacification or secondary cataract, explains Mayo Clinic. Yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser capsulotomy is the procedure that treats secondary cataracts.
A YAG laser capsulotomy is typically a painless, five-minute procedure that involves using a laser to make an opening through the clouded capsule to allow light to pass. Although complications are rare, patients usually remain in the doctor's office for about an hour to allow the physician to check for increased eye pressure and retinal detachment, notes Mayo Clinic.