Using Femtosecond Lasers
Contrary to the belief of many, cataract surgery is not performed using lasers………not yet anyway! In February 2010 the first laser cataract surgery was performed in the U.S. This exciting new breakthrough was performed using the LenSx femtosecond laser now owned by Alcon Labs, Inc. (Ft.Worth, Texas). The technology was developed by the same group that developed all-laser LASIK. Several other companies also have similar technology in the development pipeline. It is important to note that the LensSx technology is FDA approved in the U.S. for three clinical indications but that its availability in the marketplace is extremely limited currently since it only recently received the FDA approvals.
Current cataract surgery is certainly improved over the results from 30-40 years ago but does not deliver the safety and accuracy found in laser refractive eye surgery such as LASIK or PRK. About 35% of cataract surgery patients experience mild to moderate complications (posterior capsule opacification, cystoid macular edema (CME), vitreous loss or endothelial cell loss). Two percent of cataract patients have more serious complications (i.e. retinal detachment, persistent CME, corneal compliations, infection). However, LASIK only has a 0.2% serious complication rate. Therefore, current cataract surgery has a 10 X higher rate of complications compared to LASIK.
This new cataract surgery femtosecond laser technology provides:
- a high resolution image of the eye to provide precise guidance of the laser
- for the creation of a corneal incision with perfection to enable the removal of the crystalline lens and the insertion of the intraocular lens implant (IOL)
- a better method to liquefy, soften or break up the lens material for removal
- a solution for reducing astigmatism along with the cataract surgery
- micron level precision and safer, well centered capsulotomy (removal of outer layer of the lens) to allow for fragmentation and removal of the inner nucleus of the lens
- a better centered IOL which adds to accuracy of the vision outcome
- for a 43% reduction of phacoemulsification energy and 51% reduction in time which provides safer and more accurate refractive outcomes
- laser optimized wound healing
Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery should provide better safety and more predictable refractive outcomes and allow more people to experience the benefits of premium multifocal lens implants. Within the next five years I believe all cataract surgery will be performed with a femtosecond laser.
Download article on Laser Cataract Surgery from Journal of Refractive Surgery