Is Laser Cataract Surgery Safe?

You've probably been hearing a lot about cataract surgery recently, especially laser cataract surgery, since one in three older Americans eventually have cataract surgery. If you have a cataract, you're likely trying to prepare and consider your options, but you're wondering if the new laser cataract surgery method is safe. New Vision Eye Center has the answers you're looking for.

Traditional Cataract Surgery

Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgeries around the world. American surgeons perform over 1.5 million surgeries per year. It is a tried-and true procedure and is safe and effective. Another name for the traditional surgery is phacoemulsification. The surgeon will create a tiny incision in the cornea using a traditional scalpel blade. Ultrasound is then used to break up the cloudy cataract covering that is obstructing the lens. A new lens made of artificial material (called an intraocular lens) is implanted to replace your natural lens.

Laser Cataract Surgery

Laser cataract surgery is a newer procedure that is much more precise. It uses a specialized ultrasound camera to create a map of your lens surface. The computer uses this map to create a surgical plan for the size and depth of the incisions needed to repair the cataract. A femtosecond laser instrument makes the incisions in the lens using near-infrared light. Ultrasound is then used just like in the traditional form of the surgery to break up the cloudy cataract.

When to Consider Laser Cataract Surgery

Sometimes a surgeon will recommend this method depending on the type of cataract, or if he or she also wants to correct a refractive error in your vision at the same time. For example, the surgeon will often correct astigmatism at the same time, reshaping the cornea as well as removing the cataract. Correction of astigmatism involves specialized intraocular lenses to be implanted, such as toric or multifocal lenses, and surgeons usually prefer the laser procedure for implanting these specialized lenses because the laser method allows them to better map the lens and make more precise measurements for placing the artificial lens. The laser procedure has been used worldwide and is very safe as well.

Neither procedure requires stitches and the recovery period is about the same. Results vary among individuals; some people see clearly right away, while others have clear vision in about a week or two.

Does Everyone Need Surgery?

Having a cataract doesn't necessarily mean you need surgery right away. At first, people don't even notice changes in vision. As cataracts grow, so do symptoms like blurred or dimmer vision. Some patients have double vision. All of these symptoms make reading or working on a computer more difficult. Most people with advanced cataracts have poor night vision and see halos around bright light. You will find it harder to drive in the dark and you might not be able to pass the vision portion of your driver's license test. It is also much more difficult to see in bright lights as well.

Give Us a Call

If you've been experiencing these symptoms, and you think you might have a cataract or require surgery, give us a call at 772-257-8700 or contact us online. We'll do a thorough exam and advise you on the conditions of your eyes. Your sight is important to us, so we hope to see you soon!