Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
More Than LASIK™
One of the most exciting develops in cataract surgery is the use of a laser to perform parts of the operation to remove the cataract. The actual cataract removal is still accomplished by ultrasonic phacoemulsification.
Although many patients believe cataract surgery involves the use of lasers, this was not true until about 2010 years ago with the advent of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery.
The femtosecond laser is the same type of laser which has been used for years to create the corneal flaps for LASIK. This laser has been modified so it can be used for important steps in cataract surgery and it is now available in the United States. Several LASIK and cataract surgeons at Trusted LASIK Surgeons have been using this advanced form of cataract surgery for the last year or in some cases for over 2 years.
The animated video above illustrates how the femtosecond laser is used to assist in the phacoemulsifcation procedure.
Use of Femtosecond Laser in Cataract Surgery
- The incision: Rather than making this incision on the cornea of the eye manually with either a special metal or diamond blade, this incision can be more accurately performed with the femtosecond laser.
- The capsulorexhis: One of the most delicate and critical steps of cataract surgery requires the surgeon to perform a round tear or opening into the front capsule of the cataract and to try to make this perfectly round and exactly the correct diameter. This is difficult to accomplish perfectly every time, even for highly skilled cataract surgeons. Research studies have shown that the femtosecond laser can help to more accurately perform this step than the manual method.
- Softening of the Lens Nucleus: The cataract has two main components that need to be removed by the ultrasonic vibrating needle during phacoemulsification, the firm central core or "nucleus" and the softer material surrounding the nucleus called the "cortex." The femtosecond laser can soften and partially divide the nucleus to make its removal easier for the surgeon with the ultrasonic probe
- Astigmatic incisions: Currently, there are two methods of correcting astigmatism during cataract surgery: toric lens implants or incisions along the axis of the corneal astigmatism. Precisely making these incisions by hand is difficult because the incision has to be gently curved and of the proper depth and location on the cornea. The femtosecond laser has an imaging system which can measure the proper location and depth of these astigmatic arcuate incisions and then the laser places them with the correct amount of curvature, depth, and location on the cornea.
The femtosecond laser is not offered by all cataract surgeons and not all patients are candidates for its use. If you are interested in laser cataract surgery, you should check to see if your eye doctor offers this technology. If your doctor does not, you will need to find a cataract surgeon who offers this technology or ask your eye doctor for a referral to a surgeon who does offer it.
You should find and meet with a surgeon who can properly evaluate whether you are a good candidate- one with whom you can discuss the pros and cons of this technology to help you determine if laser cataract surgery is best for you.
Although this laser is FDA-approved for the steps outlined above, it is probably not covered by insurance so additional fees are typically involved.
More Info About Cataract Surgery
To learn more about cataract surgery in general, please visit our Cataract Surgery discussion.
Should You Have Laser Cataract Surgery?
In our opinion, you do not need to go out of your way to find a cataract surgeon who uses a laser to perform cataract surgery. This is a very new procedure and was first performed in the United States in 2010, so most cataract surgeons in the United States do not currently offer laser cataract surgery.
We believe choosing reputable cataract surgeon with proven expertise is a more important consideration in your selection of a cataract surgeon. Just because a surgeon does not offer laser cataract surgery does not mean the surgeon is not a qualified surgeon. Many expert cataract surgeons and many cataract surgery experts perform you cataract surgery is most important.
Another consideration concerns cost. Since laser cataract surgery is not typically covered by health insurance like Medicare, you will almost certainly have to pay an additional fee for laser cataract surgery (which is typically offered in connection with premium lens implants), which is why we believe finding an expert cataract surgeon can help you determine if these are worth the additional cost to you.
How to Find a Highly Qualified and Experienced Surgeon for Cataract Surgery
Our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory features highly qualified LASIK and refractive surgery experts who have proven experience, are active in the field of refractive surgery, and have been professionally recognized for their research, accomplishments, and contributions to advancing vision correction care.
Most of the eye surgeons in our directory also perform cataract eye surgery and many of them are leading experts when it comes to lens implants and other refractive surgery procedures. In other words, most of the eye surgeons listed at Trusted LASIK Surgeons are not simply LASIK specialists, but vision correction experts who are accomplished cataract surgeons.
Please visit our directory of vision correction experts to find an experienced eye surgeon closest to you and review the profile of an expert surgeon to see if they offer cataract surgery. Even if the surgeon nearest to you in our directory does not offer cataract eye surgery, we believe that surgeon may be able to refer you to an experienced and qualified surgeon in your local area that can help diagnose and treat you for your cataract and other vision problems. If you do contact a surgeon in our directory, please let the surgeon know you found the doctor through Trusted LASIK Surgeons.
To find a vision correction expert surgeon who has qualified to be listed at Trusted LASIK Surgeons™ and Trusted Cataract Surgeons™, please visit:
The screening process and standards used by Trusted LASIK Surgeons™ can be found at: