Laser Cataract Surgery Q & A
What is laser cataract surgery?
Many of the steps of cataract surgery are traditionally performed using handheld instruments. Now, they can be completed with the precision of a laser. Dr. Ginsberg will use the laser to create precise incisions, as well as the circular opening for accessing and removing the cataract.
The opening is exceptionally accurate and results in a perfect circle. Once the opening is created, the laser then softens and breaks up the hard cataract into tiny pieces, allowing for gentler, easier cataract removal with significantly less ultrasound energy than is used in traditional cataract.
How is laser cataract surgery different from traditional cataract surgery?
In traditional cataract surgery, incisions in the cornea to access the cataract are made using a handheld, single-use, diamond blade. Dr. Ginsberg will then use a specialized microsurgical instrument to create an opening in the lens capsule of the eye that holds the cataract.
The goal in these steps is to make the corneal incisions precise and the opening in the lens capsule as circular as possible, in the right location, and sized to fit the replacement lens. To remove the cataract, a small probe is inserted into the eye, emitting ultrasound waves to break the cataract into pieces. The probe is also used to suction out the fragments of the cataract.
With laser cataract surgery, the incisions are made with the laser, which is also used to create a more precise opening into the lens capsule. In addition, laser energy is used to soften the cataract before removal. Following the laser steps, the fragments of the cataract are still removed using the same probe used in traditional surgery and, in both procedures, an intraocular lens is inserted.
Who is a good candidate for laser cataract surgery?
Most cataract patients are candidates for laser cataract surgery. Dr. Ginsberg will need to examine your eyes and discuss your options in more detail during your cataract evaluation exam.
What can patients do to prepare before they have laser cataract surgery?
Arrange transportation for the day of surgery. You won’t be allowed to drive yourself home from the surgery center, so arrange for a family member or friend to drive you to and from the surgery center.
Having a close friend with you before the procedure can help calm any nerves you may have. He or she should stay with you the rest of the day as you recover.
Don’t eat or drink before surgery. The surgery center will tell you how many hours before surgery you should stop eating and drinking. Additionally, make sure you take any contact lenses out before surgery, and we recommend removing any makeup as well.
Can I get laser cataract surgery if I have astigmatism?
Most people with astigmatism who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to have laser eye surgery and have their astigmatism corrected.
Can I still get laser cataract surgery if I’ve had another procedure like LASIK in the past?
Will I need glasses after I have laser cataract surgery?
In cataract surgery, you can choose from several types of replacement lenses. There are options for reducing or eliminating your dependence on spectacles, such as monovision or multifocal intraocular lenses. Dr. Ginsberg will discuss these options with you at your eye examination.
What is the recovery process like after having laser cataract surgery?
Some people will have improved vision immediately after surgery, but we tell patients that it is normal to have blurred vision for a day or two. You will not have many restrictions during recovery, but it is important not to lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous exercise for one week.
Can I get a cataract again after having laser cataract surgery?
Cloudy vision after surgery may be a “Secondary Cataract”. The good news is that a quick laser procedure can fix this problem so you can get back to the excellent vision you had shortly after your original cataract surgery.