Laser Cataract Surgery
Laser cataract surgery is available in Houston at Slade & Baker Vision. We performed the first laser cataract surgery in the United States on February 25, 2010 with the LenSx® femtosecond laser. While traditional (manual) cataract surgery is considered to be one of the safest and most successful procedures performed in medicine, laser cataract surgery has significantly improved the precision of several of the most critical steps in cataract surgery. With laser cataract surgery, the doctors at Slade & Baker Vision will customize your procedure to your eye’s unique characteristics, resulting in better visual outcomes while potentially making cataract surgery even safer.
Laser Cataract Surgery: The Procedure
Laser Cataract Surgery is performed in a fully certified, dedicated eye surgery center. The procedure only takes fifteen to twenty minutes, although plan on two to three hours for the entire process on the surgery day. In addition to using the LenSx femtosecond laser to accomplish many of the surgical steps that were traditionally performed by hand, we offer the best and latest innovations in cataract surgery, such as IV-free anesthesia and no-stitch, micro-invasive surgery. The precise, reproducible steps performed by the laser means more precision, less ultrasound trauma to the eye and more predictable visual results, which are especially important with Advanced IOLs.
The laser makes incisions in both the cornea and the front portion of the lens capsule, creating an opening called a capsulotomy. Studies have shown that less than 10% of manual capsulorhexes, which are made with a bent needle or forceps, have been able to achieve the same accuracy that is produced with Laser Cataract Surgery.
In order to remove the cataract, the lens must be divided into manageable sections. This critical step is also performed by the laser, which causes less stress to the delicate fibers surrounding the capsular membrane that hold the lens in place.
Laser fragmentation (left) is more precise and breaks up the lens with less ultrasound energy than manual fragmentation (right).
Treating Your Astigmatism
You may have astigmatism and not even know it. Even people who have never worn glasses or contacts can have astigmatism in the cornea that only becomes visually apparent after the natural lens or cataract is removed. It can occur along with nearsightedness and farsightedness and, if present, will blur your vision at all distances.
There are two main types of astigmatism: corneal and lenticular. Corneal astigmatism is present when the cornea, or outer window of the eye, is more curved in one direction than the other, like the shape of a football. Small amounts of corneal astigmatism can be neutralized or minimized by the shape of the natural lens inside the eye, which is why some people have astigmatism and never knew it.
After cataract surgery with astigmatism treated (left) versus after cataract surgery with untreated astigmatism (right).
With lenticular astigmatism, the lens inside the eye can also be curved and can balance the corneal astigmatism. When the lens is removed, however, patients with corneal astigmatism will experience blurry vision that will require glasses unless they have their cornea treated for astigmatism during their cataract procedure.
At Slade & Baker Vision we use our femtosecond laser to treat small amounts of astigmatism at the time of surgery. For patients with more significant astigmatism we use one of the Advanced Toric IOLs that have built-in astigmatism correction. As with everything at Slade & Baker Vision, the surgical plan is totally customized.
After Laser Cataract Surgery
You will be released soon after the procedure to go home and relax. Your eye will not be patched, and typically patients are able to see improvement in their vision almost immediately. Complete visual recovery varies from patient to patient, but most patients return to typical daily activities within a day or two.
If cataracts are present in both eyes, the second procedure may be scheduled within days of the first eye. Serious complications are extremely rare, but because it is surgery there are potential risks involved. Our counselors at Slade & Baker Vision will provide you with additional information about the risks associated with cataract surgery and answer any of the questions you may have.