Patients in Laguna Hills, CA ask, “Is laser cataract surgery safe?”
Having clear eyesight is something many of us take for granted. However, by age 65, over 90% of people have vision problems due to a cataract. Cataracts can cause symptoms such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Located in Laguna Hills, CA, experienced cataract surgeon Dr. George Salib and the Orange County Eye Institute offer laser cataract surgery for patients who have had their vision impaired by cataracts.
What are cataracts and what causes them?[img1]Our eyes have lenses that bend, refract light, and help us see. A healthy lens is clear. Patients with cataracts have a cloudy lens due to a buildup of protein in the eyes. Patients with cataracts cannot see clearly due to the blurry lens. Patients tend to notice that objects appear faded or less colorful. They may see double, be sensitive to light, or have difficulty seeing at night. Cataracts cause vision problems that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or LASIK. Although not life-threatening, left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness.
Traditional versus laser cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is often the recommended treatment for patients with cataracts. One in three older Americans will have cataract surgery at some point in their lives. During the procedure, the cloudy natural lens of the eye is removed and a permanent artificial lens is implanted replacing the natural lens. This corrects the patient’s vision and often reduces the patient’s dependence on eyeglasses.
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Traditional cataract surgery uses a small blade for the initial incision. In a procedure called phacoemulsification, a high-frequency ultrasound device heats and breaks up the cloudy lens into tiny fragments which can then be gently suctioned from the eye. While traditional surgery is safe and effective, the introduction of laser cataract surgery has made the process from diagnosis through removal more precise.
At the Orange County Eye Institute, we are committed to staying on top of medical advancements and utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. Dr. Salib uses the Femto Laser System. For laser cataract surgery, the surgeon first plans the incision with a 3-D image. This allows the surgeon to create a precise incision with an exact location including depth and length. This improves the accuracy of the procedure and increases the likelihood that the incision will self-seal at the end of the procedure. In this procedure, the laser replaces or assists the handheld surgical tool throughout the corneal incision, capsulotomy, and lens and cataract fragmentation.
Laser cataract surgery is safe
Femtosecond lasers have been FDA approved for laser cataract surgeries. By reducing the need for surgical blades and tools, the laser reduces risks and lessens recovery time. Additional safety benefits of laser cataract surgery include:
- Safe – The laser uses smaller incisions meaning the patient has an easier recovery period, faster healing, and fewer complications.
- Accurate – The use of 3-D technology combined with the laser keeps the procedure precise as the surgeon has an accurate view of the lens.
- Efficient – Laser cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. The procedure itself is completed quickly and efficiently, often in as little as 15 minutes.
- Fewer risks – With traditional surgery, the ultrasound device can cause a heat buildup which may damage the incision or cause other vision problems. The laser softens the cataract to break it up. This process means less energy is needed to remove the cataract so there is less chance of burning or distorting the incision. It also lessens the chance of the capsule breaking so it will be in the proper position to hold the new lens.
- Safe for the inner eye – The reduced ultrasound energy reduces the risk of complications for the inner eye.
- Can be reproduced – With precise settings and 3-D imaging, laser cataract surgery can be reproduced again and again giving the same accurate results.
When possible, Dr. Salib utilizes laser cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens. In instances where the laser cannot be used, conventional methods are used to remove the lens. Dr. Salib is one of the top cataract surgeons. He has earned an outstanding reputation and is a nationally recognized leader in the ophthalmology field.
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