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Benefits of Laser Cataract Surgery

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What are cataract symptoms? Do you or your loved one need cataract surgery? Are you having a hard time doing thing you normally do; such as reading and driving? Are you considering cataract surgery, but have questions about how it works? Lastly, can laser-assisted cataract surgery be better for you?

What is a cataract? How does it affect my lifestyle? 

  • When the natural lens of your eyes become cloudy, cataracts occur. Normally, the lens in your eyes are clear, allowing light to pass through. However, as you grow older, the proteins in your lens start to break down. As a result, the lens becomes cloudy.
  • Here are some signs that you may have cataracts.
    • Your vision is blurry. Like you are looking through a foggy window.
    • Colors may appear muted.
    • Things look tinted with yellow.
  • If you have cataracts, your eyes may also feel more sensitive to light. 
  • As cataracts worsen, your vision may also get worse.

What causes cataracts to form? 

  • Age is the most common reason why cataracts start to form. Most people start getting cataracts around 40 years old. You are more at risk if your family has a history of cataracts. There is an even higher risk if you smoke or drink alcohol. Other risk factors include: exposure to UV rays, certain medications, and medical conditions such as diabetes.
  • Most cataracts develop slowly. It is very important to monitor your cataracts by visiting your eye doctor regularly. Your doctor may recommend surgery when cataracts start to affect your daily life. Without surgery, you may eventually lose your sight.

How are cataracts treated? 

  • Traditional cataract surgery is the only way to treat cataracts. Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed worldwide.
  • Before the surgery, your eyes will be tested to ensure that the artificial lens will fit the unique shape of your eyes. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the cloudy lens, then inserts an artificial lens of your choice. (See figure below.)
1. Suctioning clouded lens through incision 2. Placing new lens through incision 3. Artificial lens of your choice implanted in place.

What is laser-assisted cataract surgery?  What are the advantages?

  • Traditionally, the surgeon creates the incision by hand. Luckily, there is now technology that allows us to use a laser for better precision. 
  • With the femtosecond laser-assisted method, the surgeon uses a laser to create the incision. First, the laser softens the cataract. Then, the ultrasound waves break the clouded lens into pieces. This means, it requires less energy to break up the cataract. Because of this, there is less risk of the cornea swelling.
  • Laser-assisted cataract surgery is gentle, precise, and customizable to your eyes.
  • The laser creates a circle shaped incision that perfectly fits and holds the artificial lens.
  • The specific incisions created by the laser can also reshape your cornea. Therefore, if you have astigmatism, this procedure can correct it.

You can also watch this short video that will help visualize the process.

If you would like to learn more about cataract surgery please feel free to contact us at Advanced Eye Physician!


Written by Nancy Tsai, MD

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