The addition of laser technology in cataract surgery is one of the most innovative and exciting advances to occur in ophthalmology in recent years. While traditional cataract surgery has a long track record of success, laser cataract surgery, also known as bladeless cataract surgery, improves upon the precision and accuracy of the cataract removal process.
Mack Eye Center, a team of eye doctors in Hoffman Estates, is pleased to offer patients bladeless cataract surgery in addition to traditional cataract surgery. Here, our team discusses the differences between the two methods.
Understanding the Difference between Traditional and Laser Cataract Surgery
Laser and traditional cataract surgery involve the same steps to remove cataracts. The difference is in how some of these steps are performed.
The first step of cataract surgery is to create an incision in the transparent portion of the eye, known as the cornea. This incision is what allows the surgeon to access the capsule that holds the natural lens that has become diseased. In traditional cataract surgery, this incision is created using a hand-held blade. Although this is a straightforward process, there is still a possibility of a complication occurring due to human error. During laser cataract surgery, the surgeon will use a precise femtosecond laser to create the incision, lowering the risk of complications associated with using handheld surgical instruments.
The next step in cataract surgery is to open the front of the natural lens capsule, a process known as anterior capsulotomy. Traditional surgery involves using a small needle to create an incision on the front of capsule, while laser surgery uses a femtosecond laser to create the opening. It is important that the remainder of the capsule remains intact because it will eventually hold the artificial intraocular lens (IOL) that will replace the natural lens. Studies have found that capsulotomies performed with a laser have resulted in greater precision when creating the incision on the capsule. Research has also found that laser capsulotomies allow for better centering of the IOL — and in turn, better visual outcomes.
Once the incision on the capsule is created, the cataract is ready for removal. During traditional surgery, ultrasound energy is used to break up the cataract before it is gently suctioned out. Laser cataract surgery, on the other hand, uses laser energy to gently soften and break up the cataract for easier removal. Compared to the ultrasound energy used in traditional surgery, laser cataract surgery utilizes less energy to remove the cataract. As a result, there is less risk of incision burns, capsule breakage and other complications.
Learn More from Mack Eye Center
Mack Eye Center understands that each patient is different. Although laser cataract surgery certainly has its advantages, it may not be for everyone. To find out if you are a candidate for traditional or laser cataract surgery, schedule a consultation and eye exam with us. A member of our team can evaluate your cataract symptoms and recommend the best treatment.