What Is the Difference Between Standard Cataract Surgery and Laser Cataract Surgery?

Posted on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Jani

Cataract surgeryCataract surgery vs. laser cataract surgery is one of the most common (and successful) surgical procedures performed today. In recent years, lasers have been incorporated to perform key steps in cataract surgery, enhancing the precision and safety of what is already a highly effective procedure. In this blog post, board certified ophthalmologists from Vista Eye Specialists discuss the differences between standard cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery.

Corneal Incision

The first step of the cataract removal process is creating a precise incision in the cornea (the transparent portion of the eye) to access the capsule that holds the natural lens that has become clouded with a cataract. In traditional cataract surgery, a hand-held blade is used to create the incision. When performed by a highly trained and skilled cataract surgeon, the corneal incision is a straightforward process. However, there are risks and possible complications associated with using handheld instruments, due to human error. In laser cataract surgery, the incision is made using a femtosecond laser, which makes the process more precise and lowers the risk of complications, such as infection, that come with using a handheld instrument.

Anterior Capsulotomy

The next step in cataract surgery is removing the front portion of the capsule, a process called anterior capsulotomy. In traditional cataract surgery, a small needle is used to create an opening in the capsule to access the cataract. The surgeon must be careful and precise in making the opening in order to avoid damage to the rest of the eye, including the remaining portion of the capsule that will eventually hold the artificial IOL. In laser cataract surgery, the femtosecond laser is used to create the opening. Numerous studies have found that laser anterior capsulotomies allow for better positioning of the IOL and, as a result, better visual outcomes.

Lens and Cataract Fragmentation

Once the front portion of the capsule is removed, the cataract is ready for removal. In a process called phacoemulsification, ultrasound energy is used to break up the cataract before using suction to remove it. Laser cataract surgery uses the highly calibrated laser to gently soften and break up the cataract for an easier removal.

Although there are certain advantages to laser cataract surgery, it is not for everyone. To find out if you are a suitable candidate for laser cataract surgery or traditional surgery, please schedule a consultation with the team at Vista Eye Specialists. A board certified eye surgeon can examine your eyes and discuss which treatment plan is best for you. Schedule your FREE consultation by calling 1-888-EYE-JANI (1-888-393-5264) today.