Laser cataract surgery, also known as Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (ReLACS), is an example of excellent technology use. It is advanced cataract surgery that uses femtosecond laser technology. As a result, it provides a more precise and accurate way of performing cataract surgery. You can check out the cost of cataract surgery in the latter part of this article.
This surgery removes the lens from your eye and mostly requires replacement using an artificial lens. A cataract is a condition wherein the lens turns from being clear into cloudy. In effect, your vision becomes affected and can also bring significant impacts to daily activities.
Additionally, cataracts also create a link to other health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and many more. Heart disease development happens due to oxidative damage, which can also result in age-related cataract formation. This formation can lead to a future risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to studies. Keep in touch with your doctor once a year to monitor your health.
An ophthalmologist usually performs this surgery on an outpatient basis. Cataract surgery is prevalent and well-known as generally safe for patients. This procedure allows the patient to recover a clear vision to carry out everyday activities again.
On the other hand, if the cataract does not interfere with daily activities, surgery is unnecessary. However, if the cataract interferes with another eye disorder’s treatment, the eye doctor will recommend having cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery falls into two categories, traditional cataract surgery, and laser-assisted cataract surgery. Let us discover their differences.
Traditional cataract surgery
The medical term for this surgery is phacoemulsification. Traditional cataract surgery is one of the common surgeries in the world, which is safe and effective. Furthermore, it offers excellent results. However, surgeons usually operate on one eye at a time only, even though both eyes have cataracts. They do this for the patient’s safety.
The surgeon will be creating a small incision in the cornea by hand using a scalpel. They will be inserting a small instrument afterward, which will go behind the pupil to locate the lens where it sits in a capsule.
The surgeon will then insert a probe that looks like a pen, which will produce sound waves (ultrasound) to break the blurry lens. The surgeon will take out the broken lens through suction. After this, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) will replace your eye lens. Correspondingly, the surgeon will close the incision with a special liquid and self-seal. Typically no need for stitches.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery
It is one of the fantastic developments in the medical world using technology. A laser-assisted cataract surgery makes it easier for surgeons, especially when a cataract is dense or isn’t easy to create an opening.
In this type of cataract surgery, the surgeon will place a camera/ultrasound device over your eye to map the surface. This camera will then gather information about your eye lens condition and transmits it to a computer. It will program the laser with the exact location, size, and depth for incisions after data transmission.
A laser-assisted cataract surgery uses laser technology to make the corneal incision and the capsule opening. It can even soften the cataract before the ultrasound probe breaks the lens into pieces and suctions them out.
Like traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon will also place the IOL in the eye, and stitches are unnecessary. You can watch this short animation on how surgery takes place, either traditionally or laser-assisted cataract surgery.
Who is eligible for laser-assisted cataract surgery?
Not every individual with a cataract is eligible to undergo laser cataract surgery. Usually, surgeons recommend this surgery only to those with astigmatism and correct it during the surgery. Besides that, surgeons also offer laser surgery if you choose a premium lens, either a toric or multifocal IOL, to correct astigmatism.
If you don’t meet at least one of the conditions, the surgeon will not recommend laser surgery and remove the cataract using the traditional way. Furthermore, laser surgery is more costly as compared to the conventional option.
Health insurance providers can either fully or partially cover the expenses for traditional surgery. However, it is not always the same case for cataract surgery using a laser. Laser surgery has extra costs typically uncovered by medical or health insurance.
For this reason, costing also hinders patients from choosing the laser surgery option for their cataracts. On the positive side, the traditional way still offers excellent results, aside from correcting astigmatism.
Benefits of choosing laser cataract surgery
Generally speaking, we all know how technology makes a difference when it comes to the medical field. Cataract surgery is not an exemption for this. Although the traditional way is effective and successful, here are some advantages of laser cataract surgery.
- Laser cataract surgeries do not require the use of a blade during operation. Instead, a programmed laser will do the work.
- Additionally, it offers increased accuracy and precision. According to studies, a laser creates an opening approximately ten times more accurately than a hand-held method.
- Moreover, using the laser helps reduce surgical time and energy in the eye. As a result, the patient will have a shorter recovery time.
- Laser cataract surgeries are also excellent in correcting astigmatism.
Laser cataract surgery is appealing. However, it would be best to ask your surgeon if this procedure suits your condition.
A cataract may or may not interfere with an individual’s daily activities. However, there are cases wherein it does. For this reason, surgeons will require patients to undergo surgery. On the positive side, two types are available to work this out.
But then again, the surgeon will know which option is suitable for the patient. So, consulting with a surgeon is necessary. Cataract surgeries are effective and safe. It will only take a matter of doing it with a trusted and well-experienced surgeon. Removing the cataract will give you a better vision ahead of you.