What is Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery?

Laser Assisted Cataract Surgeons

In both traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Any astigmatism can be corrected at the same time. However, laser-assisted cataract surgery is more precise than traditional cataract surgery, giving you an even better chance of optimal vision. It also reduces the risk of certain complications that can affect the ultimate visual outcome.

Traditional Cataract Surgery

Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S. Complications are very rare. It is an effective procedure for restoring vision in people who have cataracts.

In traditional cataract surgery, your surgeon uses a blade to make the incisions and ultrasound to break up the cataract before removing it. Your surgeon performs the procedure by hand.

Computer Mapping and Guidance in Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

In laser-assisted cataract surgery, your surgeon uses a 3-D image of your eye to create a precise surgical plan. The 3-D image is called optical coherence tomography (OCT). using the OCT, your surgeon can plan the precise location of the incision, as well as the depth and length. The plan is created on the computer.

A femtosecond laser creates the incisions and breaks up the cataract. It is guided by the computer, so that its actions are precise.

If you have astigmatism, the computer will also guide the laser in making incisions in the cornea that correct astigmatism, which can give you freedom from corrective lenses after surgery.

Advantages of Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

The advantages of laser-assisted cataract surgery over traditional cataract surgery include:

  • Less energy is used, reducing the chance of complications such as burning and distorting the incision as well as a detached retina
  • Incisions are more precise
  • Risk of damage to the lens capsule is reduced
  • Increases likelihood of proper centering of the IOL and therefore, optimal visual outcome
  • Less invasive
  • Reduced risk of inflammation
  • Astigmatism correction is more precise
  • Recovery time is reduced

If you are considering cataract surgery, talk to your surgeon about laser-assisted cataract surgery and whether it is an option for you. You can learn more about cataracts and your options by talking to your ophthalmologist.