The current surgical practices for cataract surgery involve cutting manually with a blade. However a new technology has emerged. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved two different types of femtosecond lasers, the LenSx and the LensAR for cataract surgery. Two other companies are currently waiting for FDA approval for their technologies, Abbott Medical Optics and Optimedica. These technologies are currently limited but are sure to spread to medical practices throughout the United States.
The femtosecond laser makes every step of the cataract surgery more precise. The machine first makes a 3D map of the patient’s eye. Since every eye is different with individual shape and corneal placement this makes the doctor better able to make an individually tailored surgical plan. With this individual mapping technology and the precision of computer guided laser incisions the femtosecond laser technology allows patients to have a more reliable option.
Laser cataract surgery is extremely new. The first laser cataract surgery was performed February 25, 2010 in Houston Texas by Dr. Louis Slade of Slade and Baker vision center. The first patient, Lola Anderson, was thrilled with her results. After her surgery she promptly asked when they could do the other eye. Testimonials from patients are all glowing.
The American public is open and receptive to the idea of femtosecond laser technology for the removal of cataracts as they are familiar with the concept of femtosecond lasers because they are used in LASIK surgery. LASIK was quickly accepted by the public. Now LASIK is widely available and a common ophthalmological practice.
When technology is new the cost is normally high in an effort to help recover the costs of research and development. The more popular a product or procedure is the costs progressively drops because more patients distributes the cost of that research and development. It is believed that because the public has quickly accepted this new technology that demand for it will increase the availability and lower the cost. Doctors are impressed with the public’s ability to immediately understand and accept this technology. Investors predict that just like with the LASIK femtosecond lasers access to the technology and procedure will be driven by the public. This demand will cause other doctors throughout the United States to bring the new technology into their practices.
Another factor that will lower the cost of these femtosecond laser cataract surgeries is time. The procedure with the manual blade lasts about 1 to 2 hours. The femtosecond laser cataract surgery lasts approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The shortness of the procedure also reduces the risks of patient eye movement which can cause a perfect cut to change into a misaligned rhexis which can in turn change the alignment of the intraocular lens causing the patient’s vision to not be as good as it could be. This allows Doctors to see more patients in a day, which in turn allows them to lower the cost per procedure. The initial output for the machine is offset by patient turn around. Learn more about the Safety of Laser Cataract Surgery
The ability to be able to get similar results quickly, consistently, and reliably is something that both patients and doctors are going to be willing to pay for. The fact that this procedure also heals faster with less chance of infection means that there will be more demand than doctors can meet. This revolutionary procedure will soon be available across the country to a wide range of income levels. Soon every ophthalmologist will be utilizing femtosecond lasers for cataract surgery.