Is laser cataract surgery better?

Cataract surgery is a highly effective treatment to restore diminished vision. Today (at OKKO), you have three options:

Which should you choose? And, is laser cataract surgery better than the other types of cataract surgery? First, let’s look into the three different types…

1.Standard cataract surgery

With standard cataract surgery, your surgeon creates a small incision in your cornea by hand with a scalpel. They insert a small instrument through this opening. It goes behind your pupil where the eye’s lens sits in a capsule. Your surgeon then creates a round opening in the capsule. Then your surgeon inserts a pen-shaped probe through that opening. The probe applies sound waves (ultrasound) to break up the cloudy lens. Then the surgeon suctions out the broken-up pieces and positions an artificial monofocal lens (a type of Intraocular lens – IOL) in its place. As the name implies, a monofocal lens has one focal point, which is usually set for your distance vision but blurred for near vision.

2.Lifestyle cataract surgery

Lifestyle cataract surgery uses the same techniques as above, except in this surgery, we replace the cataract with a lens that has a range of focus. We call this Extended Depth of Focus intraocular (EDOF) lens technology. This type of lens can correct the vision to see clearly from 50 centimetres to far distance – in well lit conditions.

3.Laser cataract surgery

Laser cataract surgery uses a different technique altogether. Here, we place a camera/ultrasound device over your eye to map its surface and gather information about your lens. The device sends the information to a computer that programs the laser. The laser uses this information to pinpoint the exact location, size, and depth of incisions. The laser then makes the corneal incision to access the cataract. After this, the surgeon uses the energy from the laser to soften the cataract. They then apply an ultrasound probe to break the lens into pieces and suction them out.

Laser cataract surgery is also great if you choose an advanced premium lens to reduce your dependence on glasses for all tasks. Laser cataract removal allows surgeons to see and map the lens capsule better. It also helps them to place the opening in the capsule more precisely. This allows for better centration of the new advanced lens. The lens is specific to laser cataract surgery. It’s also possible to use the laser used with laser vision correction to fine-tune your vision.

Is laser cataract surgery better?

Using a laser allows the surgeon to make precise incisions in less time. It can improve accuracy and consistency that is otherwise in the hands of (mostly highly-trained) human beings. In some cases, the laser can provide further correction than what we can achieve with the standard cataract surgery technique alone. It also reduces the amount of ultrasound energy needed to soften the lens prior to removal.

Laser cataract surgery may also be a great option if you have astigmatism. The laser can create specific incisions in the cornea to reshape it, correcting your astigmatism.

However, studies do not show that laser surgery results in fewer complications or provides better results. Your outcome depends in large part on the skill and experience of your surgeon. 1American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2021. Traditional Cataract Surgery vs. Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery. [online] Available at: <https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/traditional-vs-laser-assisted-cataract-surgery> [Accessed 6 August 2021].

You and your surgeon can decide the best option for you based on your needs. Find out more about laser cataract surgery today.

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About Brisbane’s Eye Specialist

A specialist ophthalmic micro surgeon, internationally trained retinal surgeon, medical retinal diseases specialist and cataract surgeon

Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO

Brisbane Eye Surgeon

With a career that spans over 15 years, I have mastered the ability to achieve results that help patients regain their confidence and youthful energy.

When it comes to restoring the eye’s function, there is a world of choice available that most people miss. It is my responsibility as a specialist ophthalmic surgeon, to help you avoid the agonising anxiety and regret that comes with not knowing all your options.

I believe your lifestyle should dictate your vision, not the other way around. It’s my personal goal to align your vision with your lifestyle so that you can conquer life’s challenges and remain the version of yourself you most want to be.

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