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How Is Modern Cataract Surgery Performed?

How Is Modern Cataract Surgery Performed?

Friday, November 09, 2018
by Solomon Eye Associates

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Cataract surgery is a very common surgery performed all over the world. Everyone at some point in their life will get a cataract if they live to a certain age. Most people who have cataracts need cataract surgery to improve their vision.

In recent years, there have been many advancements in cataract surgery's technology. This has been due to the use of laser technology. Keep reading to learn the advantages of laser-assisted cataract surgery!


Laser Precision

Modern cataract surgery uses lasers, as well as eye mapping technology. The eye mapping technology helps guide the laser during the procedure.  In traditional cataract surgery, the initial incision is made using a scalpel blade. This incision must be made by a skilled surgeon. With laser-assisted surgery, the surgeon can make a detailed map of your eye. This uses a tool called an optical coherence tomography, or OCT. Using the map, the surgeon can find the exact place for the incision with a femtosecond laser.


Femtosecond Laser

The laser used for cataract surgery is a femtosecond laser. It’s used in several eye surgeries, including bladeless LASIK. A femtosecond laser shoots energy at a rate called femtoseconds. A femtosecond is a unit that is one quadrillionth of a second. Because of the rate it pulses at, a femtosecond laser can accurately break apart tissue. This happens without touching any surrounding tissue in the eye. This is then used to make the initial incision in your eye, followed by a hole in the capsule. It’s important not to damage the capsule during this capsulectomy as it's needed to hold the new lens in place.  A femtosecond laser can provide access to the lens without damaging the capsule.


Breaking Up The Cataract

In traditional cataract surgery, an ultrasonic device breaks up the cataract. The ultrasonic device does this by using vibrating sound waves. This is a safe and effective method, but it does come with some risks. If the the vibrations build up too much heat, they can burn the incision. With laser assisted surgery, a laser softens the lens as it’s broken up. Less energy accomplishes this so there’s a smaller risk of burns.


Cataract Removal

After the cataract is broken up and removed, the procedure continues. From this point, laser assisted surgery is like traditional cataract surgery. An artificial intraocular lens, or IOL, is inserted to replace the natural lens. After this, the procedure is complete.  Cataract surgery is a very safe procedure, but modern cataract surgery is even more so. By using a laser, many of the risks of cataract surgery are further removed. Laser assisted cataract surgery is not for everyone, but it is a good procedure to consider.Laser assisted cataract surgery is a premier procedure. As a result, many insurance companies will not cover it. Be sure to check with your insurance company if they will cover your procedure.

Want to learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery? Contact Solomon Eye Associates in Greenbelt, MD today to schedule an evaluation for your cataracts!

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