Most of the patients have multiple different doubts and questions when it comes to getting cataract surgery done for themselves or for their family , the most common being about Laser assisted cataract surgery. Pls go through the following description to understand the basics of it.
How Is Traditional Cataract Surgery Done?
In traditional surgery or Phacoemulsification surgery,as we routinely call it, the surgeon creates a small incision in your cornea by hand with a blade. They insert a small instrument through this opening and creates a round opening in the capsule. Then your surgeon inserts a pen-shaped probe through that opening. The probe applies sound waves (ultrasound) to break up the cloudy lens. Then the surgeon suctions out the broken-up pieces. They replace your lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The incision is self-sealing and usually does not need stitches.
How Is Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery Done?
A camera/ultrasound device is placed over your eye to map its surface. It also gathers information about your lens. The device sends the results to a computer that programs the laser. This tells the laser the exact location, size, and depth for incisions. The surgeon may use the laser to make the corneal incision and the opening in the capsule. They may also use energy from the laser to soften the cataract. An ultrasound probe breaks the lens into pieces and suctions them out. The surgeon then puts the IOL in the eye. Again, the incision usually does not need stitches
Advantages of Laser assisted / Bladeless Cataract surgery –
- Since the laser maps the cornea once the suction is applied, the laser has the ability to customize the pre- and intraoperative parameters hence making the surgical outcomes more precise for each individual patient.
- The corneal wounds can be created with the desired size, geometry and location and hence are more accurate based on accuracy for individual eye
- The accuracy of the corneal cuts taken with the Laser makes it self-sealing and hence lead to faster post operative healing and recovery
- Femtolaser capsulotomy (the round opening in the capsule) is better centered and more precise compared to manual capsulorhexis
- More precise postoperative IOL positioning can be achieved due to the more accurate opening in the capsule
- Corneal incisions are self-sealing, preventing wound leakage, maintaining a stable anterior chamber and avoiding postoperative vision-threatening endophthalmitis
- The nucleus is pre chopped (softened) during laser-assisted cataract surgery and hence the effective phaco time is optimized
- The optimization of phaco time in turn leads to less ultrasonic trauma to the Corneal endothelial cells leading to lesser or nil chances of complications like corneal oedema or decompensation post operatively
- Pre chopping the nucleus also reduces the stress placed on the zonules (thin thread like structures which hold the nuclear bag complex in place) – particularly important in eyes with traumatic cataract where the zonular intactness is usually already compromised
- All the above parameters lead to a much reduced number of complications
‘Is it worth it for me to spend extra money to get it done with the laser?’
If it’s something you can afford, there’s no reason not to have it done with the laser.