Laser-Assisted vs Traditional Cataract Surgery

Is Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery Right for You?

Are you planning to have cataract surgery? If so, you may have two surgical options:

  • traditional cataract surgery
  • laser-assisted cataract surgery

Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the world. It is recognized as being safe and effective. Laser cataract surgery is not covered by most insurance plans and costs more than traditional cataract surgery. In specific situations, however, it may provide some advantages. So how do you decide which type of cataract surgery to have?

Here are some things you should understand about both kinds of cataract surgery. Talk with your ophthalmologist about which is best for you. Feel free to get another eye surgeon’s opinion as well.

Laser Assisted Vs Traditional Cataract Surgery Crestview & Okaloosa County

Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery vs Traditional Cataract Surgery

Phacoemulsification is the name for traditional cataract surgery. Your surgeon creates a small incision in your cornea manually with a surgical blade. They insert a small instrument through this opening which is then directed behind your pupil, where the eye’s lens sits in a capsule. Your surgeon then manually creates a round opening in the capsule and then inserts a pen-shaped probe through that opening. This probe applies sound waves (ultrasound) to break up the cataract and also aspirates the cataract pieces out of the eye. Your cataract, or natural lens, is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant. The incision is self-sealing and usually does not need stitches.

A highly advanced optical coherence tomography (OCT) is integrated to a specialized laser and captures precise, high-resolution images of your eye. These images, and the measurements and data they provide, are used to plan a surgery to more precise specifications compared to traditional cataract surgery. The laser is able to create bladeless incisions in the cornea, reduce the amount of astigmatism for clearer vision, create a perfect opening in the anterior lens capsule, and segment the cataract. Less energy than traditional cataract surgery is needed for the ultrasound probe to break the cataract into its segmented pieces and suction them out. The surgeon then inserts an IOL in the eye. Again, the incision is self-sealing and usually does not need stitches.

Dr. Alabata offers this technologically advanced service if:

  • he finds astigmatism during your consultation and you would like it to be corrected for clearer vision
  • you are seeking less dependence from eyeglasses or contact lenses and would like a premium presbyopic correcting IOL to accomplish this
  • you have a complex cataract and Dr. Alabata feels that laser technology is the best option for you

Laser cataract surgery allows surgeons to customize a precise opening in the center of the anterior lens capsule. This allows for exceptional centration of the IOL, which is essential when a premium lens is used in order to produce the best possible visual function.

The recovery time for both types of surgery is similar. Some people can see clearly almost immediately. Most may find their vision clears within a few days. Others may take up to a week or two, depending upon the density of their cloudy lens.

Using a laser allows the surgeon to make precise incisions and can improve accuracy and consistency. In some cases, the laser can provide more correction than traditional surgery. The laser can reduce the amount of ultrasound energy needed to soften the lens prior to removal.

However, studies do not show that laser surgery results in fewer complications. Also, studies haven’t found that laser surgery provides better outcomes. Your outcome depends in large part on the skill and experience of your surgeon.

Replacing a cloudy lens and then wearing glasses for some things is perfect for many people. For others, getting the best possible vision with the minimal use of glasses is the goal. Traditional and laser cataract surgery are both safe, complications are rare, and both methods produce clear vision with little discomfort. You and your surgeon can decide the best option for you based on your needs.

Schedule now by completing this form or calling us at (850) 331-3937 to discuss with Dr. Phil Alabata if you are a candidate for cataract surgery. A referral is not required.