Cataracts are a very common ocular condition affecting more than 24 million Americans aged over 40, and a leading cause of blindness amongst American adults. Cataracts occur when the naturally occurring proteins found within the eye begin to clump together, causing areas of clouding. This clouding interrupts your vision, with patients likening the experience of looking through frosted glass. However, over time, the size and density of cataracts continues to increase until your vision is permanently altered, and you become legally or totally blind.
Fortunately, there are treatment options that mean that you don’t have to experience vision loss as a result of cataracts. Laser cataract surgery is one of the most effective ways to eliminate cataracts and restore your vision. You may also hear of it referred to as refractive laser-assisted cataracts surgery or ReLACS.
Laser cataract surgery isn’t dissimilar to conventional surgery to treat cataracts. Firstly, an incision is made into the area where the cornea meets the sclera, which is the white part of the eye. This incision is made using the laser to ensure pinpoint accuracy and enables your surgeon to break up and extract the cataract from the eye. The removal of the cataract is also performed using the laser, which emits high energy waves that break the cataract into smaller, softer pieces. Once they have been removed, an artificial lens is placed into the eye to replace the clouded lens. This is known as an IOL or intraocular lens. The eye is then left to heal naturally, and there is no need for any sutures.
Conventional cataract surgery, whilst carried out by a properly trained, skilled and experienced professionals, is still performed by hand. As such, despite all due care and attention, there is still an increased risk of errors. Laser surgery for cataracts enables patients to benefit from the minute accuracy and precision that can only be obtained using laser technology. This minimizes the risks associated with human error and ensures exceptional results.
Other key advantages to choosing laser surgery for cataracts include:
Low risk of infection. The laser that is used in cataract surgery is completely sterile, which also helps to reduce the risk of infection that can be associated with any surgical procedure.
A bespoke treatment. Every eye is different. Laser cataract surgery is planned using advanced 3D imaging which identifies each unique element of your eye and creates a 3D map – or topography – of the area. This is then used to carry out your procedure, ensuring superior accuracy and precision from start to finish.
Complete comfort. Laser cataract surgery is very gentle and straightforward, and the cataract can be swiftly and softly removed thanks to it being broken down into very small pieces by the laser.
A fast and effective procedure. Most laser cataract surgeries take less than 30 minutes for the procedure itself. You will need to allow between two and three hours for the complete duration of your appointment, from start to finish.
Excellent results. Laser cataract surgery has a success rate of around 90% - one of the highest of any ocular surgical procedure.
If you would like to learn more about laser cataract surgery, our dedicated and professional optometry team would be happy to help. Please contact our offices with your query or to arrange an appointment for a consultation.