What is a posterior capsulotomy?

Posterior capsulotomy is laser surgery you may need after cataract surgery. It aides you see clearly if your vision becomes cloudy again.
When you have cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist removes and replaces your eye’s cloudy lens. They replace it with a transparent, artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is held in place in the eye’s organic lens capsule.  Within time this capsule can become cloudy or wrinkled, causing blurry vision. With posterior capsulotomy, a laser is used to make an opening in the foggy capsule. This gives light access 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. Here is what will happen:

  • Your eye will be temporarily numbed with special eye drops.
  • Your ophthalmologist will point a unique laser at the back of the lens capsule and make a very tiny opening.
  • After the procedure, normally you can do all your daily activities, including driving. Your ophthalmologist will tell you if there are things you should avoid doing 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.

With posterior capsulotomy, your ophthalmologist uses a laser beam to make an opening in the hazy lens capsule behind the IOL.

  • If you have no other eye problems affecting your vision, your vision should improve in about 24 hours.

What are the risks of posterior capsulotomy?

As with any surgery, there are a few risks and complications with posterior capsulotomy. Here are some of them:

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


Posterior capsulotomy is a laser procedure you may need not long after cataract surgery to restore clear vision.
When your new lens was implanted in your eye during cataract surgery, it was placed in the eye’s organic capsule. Over time, this capsule can become cloudy or wrinkled, causing blurry vision. Your ophthalmologist uses a laser to make an opening in the foggy capsule, allowing light to go through properly again.
If you have any concerns about your eyes or your vision, speak with your ophthalmologist. He or she is committed to protecting your sight.