What Is a Posterior Capsulotomy?

Posterior capsulotomy is laser surgery you might need sometime after cataract surgery. It helps you see clearly if your vision becomes cloudy again.

When you have cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist removes your eye’s cloudy lens. They replace it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is held in place in the eye’s natural lens capsule. Weeks, months or years later, this capsule can become cloudy or wrinkled, causing blurry vision. With posterior capsulotomy, a laser is used to make an opening in the cloudy capsule. This allows light to pass through again for clear vision.

What Happens During Posterior Capsulotomy?

The procedure is done in your ophthalmologist’s office. It only takes about 5 minutes.

  • Your eye will be numbed with eye drops.
  • Your ophthalmologist will point a special laser at the back of the lens capsule and make a small opening.
  • After the procedure, you usually can do all your normal daily activities, including driving. Your ophthalmologist will tell you if there are things you should not do right after surgery.
  • You may need to use eyedrop medicine for one week after the surgery. Your ophthalmologist will let you know if this is necessary.
  • If you have no other eye problems affecting your vision, your sight should improve in about 24 hours.

What Are the Risks of Posterior Capsulotomy?

  • You may have a detached retina (where the tissue lifts from the back of your eye). You may see what looks like a gray curtain moving across your field of vision. You might also see a lot of floaters.
  • The pressure in your eye may increase.
  • The IOL might move through the posterior capsule opening.
  • You may have swelling in your eye, and you may need steroid eye drops.