If you’ve been told you have cataracts, it can be a scary and unsettling time. But even so, finding out about this eye condition early enough increases your chances of having a successful cataract surgery and getting through the experience with no lasting damage. The other good news is that cataract removal is generally considered one of the safest types of ophthalmic procedures available. However, did you know there are two versions of cataract surgery you can get? Here’s some more information.
Removal of the Cloudy Lens: Traditional vs. Laser-Assisted
With traditional cataract surgery, the eye surgeon uses blades to create the incisions in the cornea (the front window of the eye), and other special instruments to create the capsulotomy (the circular incision in the outer layer of the cataract or clear lens). The surgeon also uses a phacoemulsification device that utilizes ultrasound power to break up the lens and remove it from the eye.
With laser-assisted cataract surgery, the laser is used to perform these steps. Two of the benefits of the laser include the ability to make more precise and consistent incisions in the cornea, as well as a more circular and centered capsulotomy. It also pre-softens the cataract, so less ultrasound energy is necessary with the phacoemulsification device.
Why Choose Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery?
Here are a few of the key reasons many patients want to go the laser-assisted cataract surgery route:
- Since the size, shape, and location of each incision are precisely programmed by the doctor, the procedure is more predictable and reproducible.
- There is less energy used in laser cataract surgery, which means a less-invasive, safer removal of the lens.
- More precise laser incisions that are smaller in size mean your lens implant is better centered, snugly fit and less likely to shift during your healing. A perfectly centered lens offers a more accurate refractive result and better quality of vision.
- Studies show laser assisted cataract surgery patients heal quicker than the traditional method due to the procedure being less invasive producing less swelling. People that choose the laser assisted cataract surgery tend to see better quicker due to less swelling as well.
Something else to keep in mind is that traditional cataract surgery is typically covered by most private medical insurance and Medicare. Laser-assisted cataract surgery, however, requires patients to pay out-of-pocket for the portion of the procedure that insurance does not cover.
As with most ophthalmic procedures, cataract surgery options are best determined by you and your eye doctor. If you’d like to schedule a consultation and find out which of these surgeries is best for you, please contact us.