Laser surgery for cataract removal has been standard for decades. In the past few years, femtosecond technology has become more popular with eye doctors. These cutting edge tools are able to precisely remove the damaged lens' interior and treat astigmatism while minimizing post-operative risks. Currently, only LenSx femtosecond lasers have been approved by the FDA for ophthalmological purposes.
Using these new lasers makes the surgery more precise with reliable, easily replicable results. The computer aids the surgeon in placing the implanted lens in exactly the correct location, something that is difficult if done manually. Computer controlled lasers are able to work with the ability to measure in microns, rather than in millimeters.
Patients undergoing the new procedures are frequently able to achieve full clarity of vision. The visual correction may be as much as 20/20 or 20/25 within a day of surgery. These results are nothing new for laser surgery. However, the reason eye doctors are getting excited is that much of the procedures are now able to be computerized and automated. More about Safety of Laser Cataract Surgery
Before the surgeon begins the first incision, the surgeon has used the three dimensional computer interface to plan the opening, breaking down and removing the nucleus of the lens, & placing the replacement lens. Accurate incisions for astigmatism will give better results. Using these tools will be safer and give more consistent outcomes. Also, taking less time to perform the same tasks will lower the cost per procedure.
These tools will permit a less experienced ophthalmologist to deliver uniformly high quality results. Lack of experience on the behalf of the surgeon isn't the only potential problem, either. When a doctor is choosing the location of the incisions by looking at the shape and size of the eye, his ability to be precise is limited. Variables in shape and size, not necessarily visible to the surgeon's naked eye, will strongly affect the ability to properly place the lens. By using a computer to measure and analyze the eye's shape, the results will be more accurate.
One advantage to using the femtosecond lasers is that they are able to break the nucleus of the lens into small enough fragments to aspirate with minimal wear and tear to the bag of membranes that contains the fluid. Another reason that using a computerized laser is beneficial is that computers can compensate for small movements that the patients may accidentally make during the procedure. The reduced surgical time will also increase safety and improve surgical accuracy.
The femtosecond lasers aren't only faster than surgeons working manually. Ophthalmological surgeons are able to program the laser to perform maneuvers that are simply not possible to do by hand. The lasers can be told to create incisions that are rectangular or square. These precisely measured and sharply angled cuts are more stable and prevent wound problems later on.
The femtosecond laser incisions will reliably release less energy than other lasers, preventing excessive rise in temperature. This will protect the endothelial cells within the eye.
While acquiring the new equipment is expensive, it is considered to be a valuable investment. In addition to performing more safely and giving more consistent results, many surgeons who are uncomfortable with manual procedures are able to help their patients.
Patients are becoming more familiar with the concept of ophthalmological laser surgery. As femtosecond technology becomes more widely accepted, the demand will grow. Patients will quickly realize that this equipment will offer them the highest quality results with minimal time in surgery and recovery.