As some of the first ophthalmologists to perform laser surgery in the area, Drs. Cullom & Farah are pioneers in laser cataract surgery. They have also trained many of the other surgeons that use lasers in their practice now. In this article, you’ll learn from the experts about the differences between traditional and laser cataract surgery, what happens during laser cataract surgery, and how it can eliminate your need for corrective lenses.
Why Do People Need Cataract S
Cataract surgery becomes necessary when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, impeding vision. Surgery removes the clouded lens and replaces it with a crystal-clear intraocular lens implant, restoring clear sight.
Recent Cataract Surgery Improvements
In recent years, cataracts surgery has undergone two major improvements: modern lens implants and laser precision. Patients who receive cataract surgery require a lens implant to replace the natural lens. The range of intraocular lens implants available to patients today is astounding and offer incredible vision correction options. Advancements in laser surgical technology now allow for the use of ultra-precise laser incisions during cataract surgery, which may improve the surgical experience and vision outcomes for cataracts patients.
Traditional vs. Laser Cataract Surgery
Traditional manual cataract surgery is still a modern and effective procedure. Patients who receive traditional surgery still enjoy the benefits of modern intraocular lens implants and do very well. Cataracts surgery complications are highly uncommon, so traditional surgery still represents a good option for those that may not be good candidates for laser cataract surgery. For example, if you have bad corneal scarring, traditional surgery is a better option for your cataracts treatment, because scars on the outer eye can prevent the laser from performing accurately.
Laser surgery offers a few benefits over traditional manual surgery. Some ophthalmologists believe it to be safer due to the accuracy of the laser, it is gentler on the eye, recovery times are faster, and patients who receive laser treatment often have less need for vision correction post-surgery.
Improving Safety & Comfort
Although traditional cataract surgery is very safe, laser cataract surgery may be slightly safer in some situations. It is easier for your surgeon, since the laser makes perfect incisions in the cornea and lens, providing surgical cuts that are perfectly centered. The laser also helps to break up the cataract, so it is easier to remove. During traditional surgery, only ultrasound waves break up the cataract. Breaking up the cataract requires much less ultrasound energy when using lasers.
Patients who receive laser surgery often experience less swelling during healing and slightly reduced recovery times. For patients with really bad cataracts that require a lot of breaking up or those with corneal conditions that might increase the risk of swelling, laser surgery provides a potentially safer option. One study showed that laser surgery decreased the risk of posterior capsular tears, a complication that though rare in manual traditional surgery can require the necessity of a second surgery.
Improving Vision After Surgery
Laser cataract surgery makes it more likely that patients will not need glasses or contacts following treatment. The precise way that the laser forms the circular opening in the cataractous lens helps to ensure that the lens implant sits well centered in the eye. Even tiny misalignments and tilt of the implant can reduce visual quality. Even patients who required glasses long before their cataracts developed can often enjoy clear vision following surgery.
Treating corneal astigmatism is one of the most important aspects of laser cataract surgery. Corneal astigmatism causes a distortion in vision requiring glasses to correct. Laser cataract surgery is highly effective at reducing astigmatism and thus leading to a higher chance of less reliance on glasses. Patients with pre-operative astigmatism — even small amounts — will see much greater improvements in uncorrected vision with laser cataract surgery over manual surgery. Depending on the goals set prior to surgery with your surgeon. Glasses for certain tasks such as reading may still be required depending on the implant goals you make with your surgeon.
What Happens During Laser Cataract Surgery?
The treatment with the laser itself often takes less than one minute. Patients are taken into the laser room for ultra-precise imaging of the eye, followed by an equally precise laser incision and cataract break up. The patient then goes into an operating room and in less than 10 minutes the cataract is removed, the lens implant is in, and the patient is on their way to recovery. While the laser does much of the heavy lifting, a skilled surgeon like Drs. Cullom & Farah is critical for a successful operation.
Which Type of Cataract Surgery is Right for You?
While most patients are a good fit for laser cataract surgery, only the judgment of a skilled and experienced surgeon can help you determine the best course of treatment for your cataracts. Schedule an appointment at Cullom & Farah Eye & Laser Center to discover how laser cataract surgery can help restore and even enhance your vision.