Why the YAG Procedure May Be Needed After Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed eye surgeries. In most cases, a patient’s vision will be very clear following the surgery. However, hazy vision can persist for months or even years in some situations. When this occurs, the YAG procedure is a quick way to correct this issue in just a few minutes. At the Orange County Eye Institute, we routinely perform the YAG laser treatment to improve vision after cataract surgery.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s clear lens that can cause blurry vision. Individuals with cataracts will often categorize their vision as looking through a cloudy window. When performing cataract surgery, we make a circular opening in the front capsule of the lens, and remove the inner nucleus. An artificial lens is then injected through the opening, and over time, the capsule will shrink and wrap around the new lens.

In some cases, a film or frosting will eventually develop over the implanted lens, which can cause blurry or hazy vision. This condition is known as Posterior Capsule Opacification, or PCO. This can occur any time after surgery, from a few weeks to even months later. The YAG procedure can clear the frosting to restore vision.

The YAG Procedure

The YAG procedure is quick and can noticeably improve vision within 24 hours. The physician starts by dilating the pupil and numbing the eye with eye drops and directing the YAG laser at the back of the lens capsule.


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The patient will move the eye as directed while the YAG laser creates a tiny opening in the capsule’s center to clear vision. Each affected eye requires approximately 50 laser pulses during the treatment.

There is no downtime following the YAG procedure. However, patients will be prescribed an anti-inflammatory and pressure drops. You can expect mild discomfort the following day, but you can resume normal activities immediately.

Some patients may experience “floaters” in their vision for a few weeks following the treatment. However, most patients have noticeably improved vision within a day. The YAG procedure is typically only needed once to improve PCO.

If you are experiencing hazy vision following cataract surgery, we can help. Call Orange County Eye Institute today at (949) 441-5444 to schedule an appointment.

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