Patient Information

Eye surgery leaflets

Ophthalmology Department
Ipswich Hospital
Tel: 01473 703 230


Laser capsulotomy


What is laser capsulotomy?

Laser capsulotomy simply means making a hole in the posterior capsule of the lens using a special type of laser.

Diagram of the eye showing the position of the posterior capsule and the artificial lens


Why is a laser capsulotomy necessary?

The natural lens of the eye is enclosed in a capsule like a thin elastic membrane. During cataract surgery most of the lens is removed except the back membrane or ‘posterior capsule’. It is necessary to leave this in place as it holds the artificial lens, or implant, in position. It is fairly common for the posterior capsule to become thick and opaque and this causes the vision to deteriorate. This usually happens a few years after the original surgery.

Making an opening in the thickened capsule enables light to reach the back of the eye (the retina) and improve vision.

What does the procedure involve?

The procedure is carried out in the Eye Clinic. You will be asked to sign a consent form before the treatment is carried out. Your vision is checked and drops are put in your eye to dilate (enlarge) the pupil.

Local anaesthetic drops are then put in your eye and a special type of contact lens is placed on your eye to direct the beam of light from the laser. The laser looks similar to the microscopes you will have been examined with in the clinic previously. It is important that you keep your head as still as possible
– the procedure only takes a few minutes.

What happens afterwards?

There are no special precautions – you will not need any eye drops.

Your vision may be misty at first, and patients may experience floaters
afterwards that quickly settle. Usually there is no follow-up required.

Are there any complications?

Laser capsulotomy is a procedure that is often performed and complications are rare.
Minor complications can include:

  • damage to the intra-ocular lens implant, which does not affect vision


  • raised pressure within the eye

Rare potential complications include:

  • Displacement of or damage to the implant
  • Fluid at the back of the eye (macular oedema). This is quite rare and causes loss of central vision that usually clears in time


  • Delay in visual recovery. Vision usually improves in 24 hours but in rare cases can take a few weeks

If you have any problems such as a sudden deterioration or change in vision, or severe pain in the eye, please contact us:

  • Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm (excluding bank holidays), please telephone 01473 703 178. You will be able to speak to the ophthalmic triage nurse
  • Monday to Friday, 5pm–midnight; weekends and public holidays, 8am–midnight, please telephone 01473 712 233, choose the option for the operator and ask to speak to the on-call ophthalmologist. You will be able to speak to a doctor
  • Outside these hours, please call 111 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

Your experience matters

We value your feedback. Please help us improve our services by answering a simple question, in our online survey – “Overall, how was your experience of our services?”

This survey is known as The Friends and Family Test.


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