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Differences Between Traditional And Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgeryin Boston, MA

If you have cataracts that are interfering with your quality of life, you may be considering cataract surgery options. What many people don’t realize is that there are two kinds of cataract surgery: traditional and laser-assisted. While both surgeries accomplish the goal of cataract removal and restoring vision, there are a few key differences to consider before making your decision.

Cataract Surgery

The goal of cataract surgery is to remove cataracts and replace the natural lens of the eye with an artificial one, called an IOL (intraocular lens). This is accomplished by making an incision in the eye and breaking up the cataract. The cataract is broken up with an ultrasonic device before the pieces of the cataract are removed,  and an IOL is inserted. Once the IOL is inserted, the incision is left to close on its own without the need for any stitches. The procedure is simple and usually takes about thirty minutes for both kinds of cataract surgery.


When traditional cataract surgery is performed, the incisions are made in the eye with a very fine scalpel to facilitate cataract removal. Your cataract surgeon at The Nielsen Eye Center will know where to place the incisions most effectively and are highly skilled to perform the cataract procedure.


Laser-assisted cataract surgery is more precise, predictable, and more accurate than traditional cataract surgery. Laser-assisted cataract surgery will also help to treat astigmatism (irregular corneal curvature) of the eye. The laser is used to make the incisions in the cornea, the incisions into the cataract, and to help break up the cataract. Normally these are all done manually with the aid of a scalpel. The laser follows the detailed map of your eye using a specialized imaging device, which maps the front of the eye for more detailed precision and enhanced surgical outcomes.

What Kind Of Cataract Surgery Should I Get?

Both traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgeries are safe and carry very little risk. Both surgeries have comparable outcomes, as well as recovery periods. When comparing traditional cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery, one of the biggest differences comes down to what you want to accomplish with your cataract surgery. When you get laser-assisted cataract surgery, your surgeon can reshape the cornea to correct astigmatism at the same time. You can also get a premium IOL which can fix existing refractive errors. Most surgeons prefer to place premium IOLs with laser-assisted surgery. This ensures proper and effective placement of premium IOLs.

Ultimately, you should get the kind of surgery that works best for your needs and lifestyle. If you want your vision corrected while your cataracts are removed, laser-assisted surgery is a great option. If your vision is fine besides your cataracts, traditional surgery could be your best option. Be sure to discuss options and recommendations with your doctor at The Nielsen Eye Center before scheduling your cataract surgery.

Want to learn more about cataract surgery? Thinking about finally having your cataracts treated? Contact The Nielsen Eye Center today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient greater Boston locations!

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