WHAT IS POSTERIOR CAPSULOTOMY?
The posterior capsulotomy is a surgical procedure that is very often performed after cataract surgery, after a few months or years, depending on the characteristics of the eye, the implanted lens and, especially, the patient's age.
Cataract surgery is performed when the lens that focuses the objects on the retina, becomes cloudy. Cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens causing blurred vision. The treatment is based upon the removal of the cloudy lens surgically; this is called extracapsular technique.
WHAT DOES IT HAPPEN TO THE CAPSULE IN CATARACT SURGERY?
The lens has a membrane (cellophane-like) that covers it and is called capsule. The most advanced technique involves surgical removal of the lens retaining the back of the capsule.
This technique maintains the natural barrier between the compartments of the eyeball; in addition, the posterior part of the capsule can be used to hold the new intraocular lens, which typically is implanted in the same surgical procedure.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY A POSTERIOR CAPSULOTOMY?
The posterior capsule is normally transparent. However, time after cataract surgery, the capsule can become cloudy or wrinkled. When this happens, it causes blurred vision, like seeing through dirty eyeglasses. The end result is a poor vision, similar to when the original cataract occurred.
If the posterior capsule's clouding interferes with the vision, the ophthalmologist can perform a window in this structure to restore the light path and regain the vision as it used to be before clouding.
This can be accomplished using a Nd: YAG laser. It is not necessary to remove the capsule completely; it is sufficient to open a window in the center of approximately 4 mm. The laser procedure requires sharp focus by the eye specialist; the patient in return finds usually the technique quick and painless. Furthermore, this technique does not require surgery or hospitalization.
WHEN TO PERFORM A CAPSULOTOMY?
If your vision decreases after cataract surgery, it is important to consult your ophthalmologist. A capsulotomy may be indicated if your vision has decreased enough and your ophthalmologist feels that posterior capsular opacification is the cause.
Many people may need a capsulotomy after cataract surgery. The fact of needing capsulotomy after cataract surgery must not be of concern, since clouding or wrinkled appearance in the capsule are parts of the normal healing process in most people.
WHY ARE IMPORTANT REGULAR EYE EXAMS?
An eye disorder can appear at any age. Many eye diseases do not cause any symptoms until the disease has caused irreversible damage. Since many types of blindness are preventable if diagnosed and treated early, regular medical examinations performed by an ophthalmologist are very important.
HOW ARE EYE DROPS INSTILLED?
Tilt your head back, pull the lower lid down and apply a drop without touching the eye.
HOW IS AN OINTMENT APPLIED?
Tilt your head back, pull the lower lid down and place a little ointment "as a grain of rice." The first portion should be discarded each time the tube is opened.