Cataracts are one of the most common vision problems faced by people in the world. It can lead to refractive errors in the eye which can’t be treated with glasses or contact lenses. Cataracts develop over the years normally and are associated with ageing.
If left untreated, cataracts can cause eyesight to deteriorate gradually and in extreme cases, eventually leads to blindness. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery can recover any vision lost to the disease and is one of the safest and most successful ophthalmological procedures.
One of the newer developments in the world of cataract surgery is the introduction of femtosecond lasers in the procedure, which are the same lasers that are used to treat refractive errors in a LASIK procedure.
In this blog, we take a look at the differences between basic cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery.
Basic Cataract Surgery
Here’s a basic overview of how cataract surgery is normally performed to treat cataracts:
1. A small incision is created in the side of the cornea using a scalpel blade by the surgeon.
2. An instrument is then inserted through this incision to reach the area behind the pupil where the eye’s lens is located, in a capsule-like enclosure.
3. An opening is created in the capsule containing the lens with the help of microsurgical instruments.
4. A pen-shaped probe is inserted into the capsule through the opening, which uses ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy center of the lens. The broken pieces of the lens are then taken out of the capsule using suction.
5. An artificial intraocular lens is implanted to act as the new lens in the eye.
6. The incision in the cornea is filled with a special fluid and normally self-heals after the surgery.
Femto laser Bladeless Cataract Surgery
In femto laser bladeless cataract surgery, the process almost remains the same except some of the steps are done with a computerized laser, leading to some advantages which we’ll cover later. Here’s a basic idea of how femtosecond lasers are used in laser cataract surgeries:
1. A camera/ultrasound/scanning device is used to map the patient’s eye and gather information about the lens. This data is then sent to a computer which programs the laser to perform the incisions required in the surgery with robotic precision.
2. The laser is then used to create the opening in the cornea and lens capsule, which was done with a scalpel blade in the previous method.
3. A pen-shaped probe is inserted into the capsule through the opening, which then uses ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy center of the lens. The broken lens is then sucked out of the eye and replaced with an artificial lens, just as it is done in basic/traditional cataract surgery.
4. The corneal incisions usually self-heals and do not require stitches.
Femto laser thus performs the first five steps of the cataract surgery with ultra- precision and thus sets the stage for a perfect surgery with excellent outcomes and early recovery.