Is Laser Cataract Surgery Right For You?

February 2, 2017 — by William Goldstein
Tags: Laser Cataract Surgery Cataracts Cataract Surgery Benefits

The technology of laser assisted cataract is fast gaining popularity as the chosen method of treatment for astigmatism and cataracts. The popularity of laser cataract surgery stems from the many advantages it offers:

 Precision: Laser surgery is assisted by computers. Human hand given its inherent virtue is not error free. Computers on the other hand, when programmed appropriately, have a low error margin. 

  Noninvasive: Conventional cataract surgery is invasive. Hand-held blades are used to slice the eye followed by a probe assisted removal of the lens fragment followed by replacement with an artificial plastic lens. 

 Gentler: Laser is gentler on the eye as compared to ultrasound. Patients with sensitive eyes are show greater improvement with laser assisted cataract surgery. 

Laser cataract surgery: A single approach for the treatment of two conditions

Apart from successful removal of the cataract, laser surgery has an additional ability to correct a few types of Astigmatism. The condition of Astigmatism is characterized by an uneven curvature of the eye which leads to a distortion of vision. The cornea of the eye is shaped more like a football, instead of being round in all directions like a baseball. In patients who suffer from astigmatism and cataract, both conditions can be treated simultaneously. 

Laser assisted cataract surgery as a procedure is divided into two parts. Post exposure to the laser beam, the patient is transfer to the operating room for the remaining procedure. Here, the lens is removed manually and replaced with an artificial lens implant. Also, laser assisted cataract procedure is never undertaken exclusively for astigmatism correction. Correction of astigmatism alone is through a procedure called LASIK. 

Limitations of Laser Assisted Cataract surgery

Laser assisted Cataract surgery is a safe procedure but is not free from side effects that range from mild to severe. These side effects are all possible with standard catarct surgery, and are not more common with laser. A few side effects include:

 Increased pressure within the eye

 Swelling or a secondary infection

 bleeding

 detachment of retina

 occurrence of implant loosening

 drooping eye lid

 swelling

Are you the right candidate?

There are a few limitations of Laser assisted Cataract removal. Laser cataract surgery treatment is effective only in the correction of a few forms of astigmatism. Irregular astigatism cannot be treated with laser. When astigmatism is irregular, laser treatment is ineffective. LASIK patients should be cautious in having more laser for astigmatism. The biggest limitation to patients having laser cataract surgery is probably cost, since it is not a covered benefit under medical insurance.