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.