Every year, cataracts affect millions of people aged 40 and over. They are one of the more common eye problems that occur with age. They’re so common, in fact, that cataract surgery — the only effective way to treat cataracts — is the most commonly performed medical procedure in the United States. Cataract surgery effectively removes cataracts from the eye along with the whole natural lens, allowing it to be replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Recent advances in the field have allowed surgeons who perform cataract surgery to use laser technology. There are several benefits to laser-assisted cataract surgery, but the primary advantage is that the cataract is removed with highly precise laser technology. But how do you know if you qualify for laser cataract surgery or cataract surgery in general?
Do I Qualify for Cataract Surgery?
It’s generally recommended that a patient should get cataract surgery when their cataracts affect their quality of life. This can mean you’re having difficulty reading, driving, or recognizing faces. Most people qualify for cataract surgery if they are in good health and have cataracts that are obstructing their vision.
How is Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery Different?
Laser-assisted cataract surgery is different from traditional surgery because it uses a laser instead of a bladed instrument to make the initial incisions on the eye. These incisions through the cornea serve as an opening to the lens, where another laser is used to soften and break up the lens before removing it with a vacuum.
Normally, with traditional surgery, an ultrasonic device is used to break up the lens. The use of a laser lowers the risk of burning and other complications potentially caused by the ultrasonic vibrations. These risks are always quite low even with traditional surgery, but they are minimized even further by using a laser.
There are two primary circumstances that allow a patient to receive laser-assisted cataract surgery over traditional cataract surgery:
- To Treat Astigmatism. Your eye surgeon can offer laser-assisted cataract surgery to treat astigmatism. During the procedure, the surgeon will use the laser to make Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRIs) that gently reshape the cornea to correct the irregular shape that causes astigmatism.
- To Implant a Premium IOL. The other possibility for being offered laser-assisted surgery is if the patient is getting a premium IOL. Premium IOLs usually need more precise placement than standard monofocal IOLs, which make laser technology ideal for implanting a premium IOL.
Laser Cataract Surgery, Boston and South Shore
Searching for a cataract specialist in Boston or the South Shore? Our expert team of surgeons are highly experienced in cataract surgery, IOLs, and post-operative care for cataract removal. Give us a call at (877) 373-2020 to discuss your options for cataract surgery, or schedule an appointment at one of our three locations in Quincy, Norwell, or Weymouth, Massachusetts!