YAG laser surgery, also known as Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy, is performed to correct the clouding on a lens after cataract surgery, says WebMD. In some cases the clouded lens can lead to more vision loss experienced from the original cataract several months or years after cataract surgery.
Before the corrective outpatient procedure, the surgeon applies anesthetic eye drops to the patient's eyes to ensure that he doesn't feel pain, notes WebMD. The Nd:YAG laser is then used to create a hole in the back lining of the clouded lens capsule, which allows light to pierce through the membrane to the back of the eye. A couple of hours after the surgery the patient has his intraocular pressure checked.
For one type of eye surgery, the YAG laser is used to punch a hole in the iris. This procedure takes place in patients who are diagnosed with acute angle-closure glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is characterized by an abrupt, sharp rise in pressure in the front eye chamber. Pressure buildup within the eye results from a sudden blockage of the eye fluid circulation, outlines MedicineNet.com. Since the complication of acute angle-closure glaucoma emanates from the buildup of excess pressure in the eye, it is relieved by getting rid of that pressure using the YAG laser procedure.
In addition, YAG laser surgery is also used in treatment of other disorders of the eye such as cataracts. YAG laser surgery can also be used in other parts of the body, including the removal of birthmarks from the skin, adds MedicineNet.com. Some physicians use this procedure laparoscopically in the treatment of endometriosis. YAG laser surgery generally is performed within an office setting instead of in the hospital.
Risks associated with the procedure include short-term pressure on the interior of the eye, detachment of the rear nerve layer in the eye, swelling, bleeding, and damage to the intraocular lens, says WebMD. Extra pressure can be handled with eye drops. Since there is no way of telling which individuals may experience clouding, the procedure cannot be done as a preventative measure.
Once the YAG laser procedure is complete, the patient should not feel any pain. WebMD recommends that individuals consider the risks and benefits of the surgery before deciding to have it done.