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Laser-Assisted or Traditional Cataract Surgery. Which is Right for Me?

What is Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery and How is it Different Than Traditional Cataract Surgery?

You may have heard it said that if you live long enough, you’ll most likely deal with cataracts. And it’s true. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), about half the population in American develop cataracts by age 75. And as the U.S. population ages, more than 30 million Americans are expected to have cataracts by the year 2020.

So let’s talk cataract facts – specifically, treatments considering cataracts will not resolve on their own and cannot be treated with medicine or lifestyle changes. Cataracts must be removed for vision to be restored.

Cataract Basics

A cataract is a progressive clouding of your eye’s natural lens. Cataract symptoms include cloudy vision, poor color recognition, glare from night driving and frequent prescription changes in glasses or contacts.

Cataract Treatments

If you need cataract surgery, most modern ophthalmology practices will offer you two choices regarding the surgical procedure itself – Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (sometimes called bladeless cataract surgery) or Traditional Cataract Surgery. To make the best decision for your vision goals and lifestyle, there are some things you should understand about both kinds of surgery.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the world today. Both traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery are recognized as being safe and effective treatments. Neither requires a hospital stay. But let’s look at little more closely at how each procedure works to restore your vision.

Traditional Cataract Surgery

With traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon creates a small incision in the side of the cornea by hand with a scalpel. A tiny instrument is inserted through this incision into the area where the cloudy lens sits. The surgeon then creates a circular opening in the lens capsule and a pen-shaped probe is inserted to apply sound waves (ultrasound) to break up the cloudy center of the lens. The pieces of the cloudy lens are gently removed from the eye. Finally, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the natural lens. The incision self-seals after surgery, so stitches are not needed.

Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

The most recent breakthrough in cataract surgery is the introduction of the cataract laser. With this type of cataract surgery, a camera/ultrasound imaging device is placed over the eye to map its surface and gather highly detailed information about the lens. This device sends the data to a computer that programs the laser for the exact location, size and depth of the incisions. The surgeon uses the laser to make the corneal incision and opening. Energy from the laser may also be used to soften the cataract.

Then the same ultrasound probe used in traditional cataract surgery is used to break the lens into pieces and gently remove them from the eye. The IOL is implanted. As with traditional cataract surgery, the corneal incision self heals and usually does not require stitches.

So What’s the Big Difference?

At Eye Medical Clinic, it is the opinion of our experienced surgeons that the technology used in laser-assisted cataract surgery adds to the safety, accuracy and precision of the procedure. Your eyes are unique! Bladeless cataract surgery allows for a procedure customized just for you! We are excited to offer the latest FDA-approved laser cataract technology for your cataract surgery procedure.

Unlike traditional bladed cataract surgery where the incisions are made by hand, the laser automates key steps of the cataract surgery procedure. The accompanying software system analyzes high-resolution images of your eye, helping your Eye Medical Clinic surgeon design and perform a fully customized procedure.

To further enhance accuracy at every turn, a patient interface connects your eye to the image-guided surgical unit, so both the computer and the surgeon operating it have precise, real-time images, throughout the entire procedure.

Schedule a free initial cataract consultation and screening today with the experts at Eye Medical Clinic. We will share all of our cataract surgery options to give you a clear idea of what will benefit your vision and lifestyle. At Eye Medical Clinic, we have been dedicated to helping the people of Santa Clara Valley with all their eye care needs for more than 70 years.


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