Laser Cataract Surgery
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is the thickening of the eye’s lens. Overtime, this “clouding” begins to restrict the light flow to the retina, causing eyesight to become blurred and dim, with the visual acuity similar to someone looking through a foggy window. Eventually, if no action is taken, total vision loss will occur. Though this condition is chronic and arguably inevitable, cataract surgery is a safe and effective solution, with a 98% success rate of improved vision in patients.
As with any major surgery, meticulous planning must be done beforehand. Using the 3-D image technology, your surgeon will create a detailed map of your eye to assess thickness of the cornea and depth of the anterior chamber, the fluid-filled space between the cornea and the lens. He or she will also measure pupil diameter and determine parameters for the incisions made during the procedure. On the day of surgery, you will remain awake, but your eye area will be numbed and your eye will be stabilized in a laser platform.
During the 15- to 20-minute procedure, your surgeon will use the information gathered from the 3D images and maps to obtain greater accuracy and precision. The procedure itself is not painful, but you may experience slight tugging or pressure. You will be sedated for relaxation and lying under bright lights so you will not feel any discomfort or witness any of the procedure.
Laser cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means that you will be able to go home the same day. Once vitals are normal, most patients can leave within an hour after the surgery is completed. You will most likely feel slight discomfort, itching, and blurred vision for a few days while your eye heals. Resist the temptation to rub your eyes, lift heavy objects, or perform any other strenuous tasks. Follow-ups are usually scheduled within a few days and over the next few months to ensure the eye is healing properly and no complications have arisen.
The cost of laser cataract surgery varies based on specific eye-correction options and insurance plan coverage. Even if a portion of the surgery is covered, there may be additional out-of-pocket deducibles or copayments that will need to be met. With so many variables, it is best if you consult with our office and your insurance company to determine cost and benefits specific to you.
Risk and Complications
Most post-surgery complications are low-risk and easily treatable. If a complication does arise, it is most commonly a posterior capsule opacification (PCO), or the slight thickening of the lens capsule due to a regrowth of the cells. This is not a new cataract; cataracts do not grow back. However, this thickening can cause slight blurriness and sensitivity to bright lights. This complication can be corrected with a Nd:YAG laser capsulotomy, where the surgeon uses a laser to make a small hole in the back of the lens, allowing light to pass through to the retina. PCO is relatively uncommon, affecting only about 20% of laser cataract surgery patients.
Is Laser Cataract Surgery Right for Me?
Begin by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Matthew Clark. During this appointment, they will assess your eye structure, the condition of your cataract, and if you have any interfering medications or health concerns. Remember, cataract surgery is currently the most common and safest surgery performed each year, but if you have additional concerns regarding the procedure, please call our office.