Your condition

During cataract surgery your normal lens (which sits behind the iris or coloured part of the eye) is removed and an artificial lens replaces it. Surrounding your lens is a bag called a ‘capsule’ which is left behind once your natural lens has been removed. The new artificial lens is placed inside this capsule to help keep it in position.

Sometimes the back or posterior of this capsule behind the new lens becomes cloudy. This can happen weeks or months after cataract surgery causing glare and blurry vision.

Image of two lens capsules, one is hazy and the other shows a clear lens after the hazy capsule is removed.
Image of two lens capsules, one is hazy and the other shows a clear lens after the hazy capsule is removed.

What does the laser do and how does it work?

Your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) can use a laser to create a hole through the cloudy capsule to allow more light to enter the eye.

The treatment usually improves vision, provided there are no other problems affecting the eye.

This procedure may need to be repeated.

Image of the laser beam being aimed through the cloud capsule to improve vision.

What to expect

  • You will be at the hospital for at least 2 hours.
  • You will be given drops to dilate your pupil (make it large) which last for several hours, so you will be unable to drive home.
  • Local anaesthetic drops will also be put in your eye before the procedure.
  • Treatment is delivered through a lens which rests against the eye.
  • Please take all of your usual medications prior to your appointment, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • Side effects may include slight discomfort, sensitivity to light (photophobia), red eye, occasional swelling and blurred vision. Wearing sunglasses (with your prescription, if required) can make the trip home more comfortable.
  • Please arrange for someone to pick you up and drive/take you home.

More information

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Phone: (03) 9929 8666

Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Laser Posterior Capsulotomy #159
  • Owner: Laser
  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2023
  • Next Review: August 1, 2028