4 Advantages of Femtolaser Cataract Surgery
Laser or Femtolaser cataract surgery is currently the most advanced way to remove a cataract. It offers increased safety, precision, and offers a gentler option for removing cataracts. There are 4 main advantages for laser cataract surgery, which we’ll discuss below.
1. Safer Capsulotomy
The most important step of cataract surgery is known as the capsulotomy, which is the act of opening the very thin and delicate membrane that holds the eye’s clouded lens. Before laser cataract surgery was available, the capsule had to be opened manually by the surgeon. This delicate procedure is similar to peeling the skin of a grape and if not done correctly, the capsule can become compromised making it much more difficult to remove the cataract. A broken capsule also increases the risk of certain complications with surgery.
By introducing a computer-guided laser that precisely maps the structure of the eye, we are now able to cut a perfectly circular opening in the capsule and dramatically lower the risk of breakage. The precision and reproducibility of the laser is unmatched even by the best surgeons. The size and location of the capsulotomy is critical for the accuracy of the lens implant; the greater the accuracy, the higher the chance that the patient will achieve spectacle-free vision.
2. Gentler Breakdown of the Clouded Lens
A cataract is basically a clouding and hardening of the natural lens that occurs with age. Traditionally, cataracts are removed using sound waves to break the lens into smaller pieces. The denser and harder the cataract, the more ultrasound energy required. This increase in energy can damage the cells that line the back surface of the cornea called endothelial cells. If too much damage occurs to these cells, the cornea may not recover and a corneal transplant may be required.
During femtolaser cataract surgery, the laser pre-softens the lens making cuts in a grid pattern. With the lens pre-softened, less ultrasound is required to break it up and remove it. The result is a much gentler and less traumatic surgery, clearer corneas, and quicker visual recovery.
3. More Precise Incisions
In the traditional cataract surgery, a metal scalpel blade is used to create the incisions. This creates more variability in both the location and architecture of the incision. With the femtolaser the exact location is specified along with the exact length, width, and architecture of the incision. This increase in precision is especially helpful to provide the best possible vision after surgery.
4. Astigmatism Correction
Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea is oblong like a football, instead of being round like a basketball. During cataract surgery, we can use the laser to create relaxing incisions in the peripheral cornea to correct the shape. Before the advent of the laser, this was usually done manually with a diamond blade. However, as with the capsulotomy and incisions, we can now do this more accurately with an image-guided laser. The location, size, and depth of these incisions can be accurately made by the OCT guided laser to optimize the effectiveness of the astigmatism correction.
There are multiple advantages to femtolaser cataract surgery that make it the best and safest way to perform cataract surgery today. It is considered an upgrade to what’s known as premium cataract surgery, and this upgrade is typically not covered by insurance. If an extra expense is not an issue, or you’re looking to correct astigmatism and get rid of your glasses after cataract surgery, we highly recommend this option. Make an appointment at one of our locations to discuss the possibilities of femtolaser cataract surgery along with our premium lenses.