If you are planning on undergoing cataract surgery, you have two basic options: traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery. Both cataract surgery options remove your clouded lens to allow for the placement of an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
At Utah Eye Associates in Salt Lake City, UT, we forego the use of the handheld tools employed in traditional cataract surgery. Instead, we use the lenSX®, an innovative laser system that can remove cataracts with a customized 3-D surgical platform. This laser-assisted option offers benefits over traditional cataract surgery. Here, Dr. David Masihdas discusses the benefits of laser cataract surgery.
Traditional vs. Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery
During cataract surgery, an incision is made in the cornea. Next, the front portion of thin, clear capsule that surrounds the lens is removed to give the surgeon access to the cataract-clouded lens. Then, the clouded lens is broken up into small pieces that are gently suctioned out. Finally, an IOL is placed to replace the lens.
In traditional cataract surgery, handheld tools are used to create incisions and perform the anterior capsulotomy; in laser cataract surgery, a femtosecond laser is used to perform these steps.
The lens fragmentation stage of the procedure is performed with an ultrasonic device in the traditional technique, and with the femtosecond laser in the laser technique.
There are many benefits to undergoing laser cataract surgery. The laser technique allows for more precision when creating the incision. The LenSx® femtosecond laser used at our Salt Lake City eye center improves precision because it uses computer-guided technology and a laser beam to create incisions. Before the incisions are made, a 3-d map of the eye is created to map out the features of the eye. We can then create more accurate incisions with a specific location, depth, and length.
In addition, the femtosecond laser results in greater accuracy when removing the front portion of the capsule around the lens. This enables us to better position the IOL, which results in better visual outcomes.
The use of laser technology enables surgeons to perform quicker and more efficient surgery. For example, the average time needed to make incisions using this advanced laser is 20 to 45 seconds.
Reduced Chance of Damage to the Incision
When ultrasound energy is used to break up the cataract, heat build-up can burn the incision. This can result in the increased risk of astigmatism, leakage, and the need for multiple sutures.
The laser softens the cataract and doesn’t produce as much heat energy, reducing the risk of these complications.
Other Benefits of Cataract Surgery
Patients who undergo laser cataract surgery enjoy a number of unique advantages over traditional cataract surgery, including:
- Precise incisions in less time
- Improve accuracy
- Improved consistency
- Better correction than traditional surgery
- Reliable results
- Reduced energy needed to break up the cataract, which can result in a lower risk of corneal swelling
- Better results when the cataract is dense or the opening is difficult to make
- A more precise surgical plan that uses 3D imaging
- Improved self-healing after surgery and lower risk of postoperative infection
- A blade-free procedure
There are few drawbacks to undergoing laser cataract surgery. Some insurance plans that cover traditional cataract surgery may not cover laser cataract surgery. If you have questions about insurance coverage, a member of our team will be glad to contact your insurance provider.
Schedule Your Laser Cataract Surgery Today
Cataract surgery has a long and safe track record. Dr. Masihdas is a board-certified optometric physician and caring eye doctor who is a pioneer in medical optometry.
To schedule your laser cataract surgery consultation, please contact our office online or call (801) 363-2851.