Advancing technology has transformed virtually every area of medicine — and ophthalmology is no exception. Breakthrough advances in cataract surgery have made the common procedure safer and more precise than ever before.
Here, Mack Eye Center, a leading laser vision correction and cataract surgery practice in the area, discusses the evolution of cataract surgery, including the innovative developments that have taken place over the past years.
Conventional Cataract Surgery
Conventional cataract surgery is very safe and has a high success rate.
The surgery entails removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear intraocular lens to restore clear vision. To do this, a handheld blade and other instruments are used to create an incision on the eye’s natural lens. Ultrasound technology is used to break up the lens, and gentle suction is used to remove the pieces. An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is positioned where the natural lens once was.
Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
Among the most innovative advances in cataract surgery is the addition of laser technology. Laser cataract surgery has the potential to reduce many of the risks by replacing the handheld instruments with a computer-guided laser to perform key steps of the cataract removal process. First, the eye is scanned and sophisticated computer software captures the eye’s measurements. The software then creates a three-dimensional map that will guide the laser in creating the corneal incision. This approach makes it easier for the incision to seal on its own than when handheld instruments are used. A sophisticated femtosecond laser is used to make self-sealing incisions on the surface of the cornea, reducing the chance of infection. The laser is also used to open up the front of the natural lens capsule to access the natural lens and gently soften it.
According to studies, laser-assisted cataract surgery allows for better centering and positioning of the IOL that replaces the clouded natural lens. Better positioning of the IOL allows for better visual results.
Advances in Intraocular Lenses
Early generations of IOLs allowed corrected vision to be at one fixed distance — either near or distant. These monofocal IOLs, which still exist, require patients to use prescription eyewear to see clearly at the uncorrected distances.
Today, premium lens implants are multifocal, meaning they provide both near and distance vision, without the need for eyeglasses after cataract surgery. Premium IOLs are also available for patients with astigmatism. More options in IOLs allow our surgeons to tailor cataract surgery to meet each patient’s specific needs.
If you are interested in learning more about cataract surgery, Mack Eye Center welcomes you to schedule an appointment. Contact us by calling our office at 847-755-9393 today.