Laser Cataract Surgery
The age-old myth about cataract surgery is no longer the case. Cataract surgery CAN be done by laser! Or at least several critical steps in the procedure can be performed by laser.
Refractive laser assisted cataract surgery (ReLACS™) is a major step forward in the way cataract surgery is performed that brings an unprecedented level of precision and safety to a surgery that is traditionally performed by hand and with ultrasound energy. UltraView ReLACS™ is the U Eye Laser Cosmetic mantra to state of the art laser cataract surgery customized for your eye.
With the laser approach to cataract surgery, a 3-D image of the operated eye is first acquired using an OCT (optical coherence tomography). This image is then used to guide the femtosecond laser to make precise, surgeon-programmed incisions in the eye to enhance or replace several critical steps performed during cataract surgery.
The Cataract Incision
In traditional cataract surgery, the eye surgeon uses a hand-held blade to create an incision on the edge of the cornea that allows the wound to self-seal after surgery without any stitches. During an UltraView ReLACS™ procedure, the laser creates an incision with a specific location, depth and length in all planes reproducibly. This is important not only for accuracy but also for increasing the likelihood that the incision will be self-sealing at the end of the procedure, thus reducing the risk of infection.
The eye’s natural lens is surrounded by a capsule that is very thin and very clear. In traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon creates an opening in the capsule with a small needle and uses that same needle or forceps to tear the capsule in a circular fashion. The ideal capsulotomy should be 5-6 mm in diameter, and well-centred for optimal lens implant fit. It is important that this capsule not be damaged during cataract surgery because it must hold the artificial lens implant in place for the rest of the patient’s life.
The UltraView ReLACS™ approach uses the femtosecond laser to create an opening in the capsule with incredible speed, predictability, and accuracy. This reduces the risk of an irregular capsular opening by the traditional manual approach. Studies have shown that laser capsulotomies enable better centration of the intraocular lens (IOL), which is a significant factor in determining final visual outcomes.
Removal Of The Cataract
Another step in the UltraView ReLACS™ procedure involves the laser being applied to the substance of the cataract to soften it. This allows the cataract to be removed with more ease, reducing (or eliminating in some cases) the amount of ultrasound energy applied inside the eye. As a result, there is less chance of breaking the capsule, corneal wound burn from heat generated by the ultrasound, and swelling of the cornea from internal damage caused by ultrasound.
Astigmatism Correction at the Time of Cataract Surgery
One of the approaches to reducing astigmatism at the time of surgery is to make additional incisions on the side of the cornea to turn an oval shaped cornea into a more rounded shape. Traditional surgery involves surgeons making these incisions free-hand with a blade. During UltraView ReLACS™, the OCT image can be used to plan these incisions in a very precise location, length and depth, allowing the laser to accurately create them. Since the laser minimizes the variables involved, the same procedure performed by laser is ultimately customized for your eye.
Cataract surgeons who use lasers say that their advantages are especially evident when it comes to high-tech, premium implants such as astigmatism and presbyopia-correcting multifocal IOLs. The advantages can include better lens placement, and ultimately, superior visual outcomes.
Keep in mind that even though the early results of laser cataract surgery are promising, this is newer technology that deserves in-depth research and discussion with your surgeon or surgical counsellor so that you can make the best possible decision for your situation. UltraView ReLACS™ is now available at U Eye Laser Cosmetic.