Laser Cataract Surgery was first performed in the U.S. in 2010. Since that time, the procedure’s state-of-the-art surgical advantages, potential patient benefits, and consistent outcomes have helped it gain the support of leading ophthalmic surgeons and eye clinics throughout the country. Sharper Vision Centers is proud to offer the two leading Laser Cataract Surgery Platforms: the LenSx® Laser and the Catalys® Precision Laser System.
Laser vs. Non-Laser Cataract Surgery
With Laser Cataract Surgery the surgeon uses a computer-controlled bladeless femtosecond laser system to: develop an exact “customized” surgical plan for each patient and to then perform all necessary incisions required by the plan.
During Laser Cataract procedures, the surgeon uses the laser to create incisions to access the eye and create a circular opening for accessing and removing the cataract. The laser will also soften and break the cataract into tiny pieces for gentler, easier removal. By utilizing both a computer and laser, the surgeon is able to precisely control the exact shape, length, depth, and location of each incision; creating precise incisions that meet the unique specifications of each individual’s eye.
In contrast, during Non-Laser Cataract Surgery, the eye surgeon uses a diamond or metal blade to manually perform all of the necessary incisions and does not soften the lens prior to removal.
The picture above illustrates the precision of laser incisions versus manual incisions. The blue line represents the circular opening the surgeon makes to access the cataract. This incision created during Laser Cataract Surgery is approximately 10 times more accurate than what is achieved by hand.
After the required incisions are performed, either with a laser or blade, both methods then rely on the same phacoemulsification technology and ultrasonic waves to help break up and remove a patient’s cloudy, cataract-obstructed natural lens. But because Laser Cataract Surgery has broken the lens into tiny pieces, it requires less and sometimes no ultrasonic wave energy to be put into the eye.
All of these Laser Cataract Surgery advantages may allow your eye to recover more quickly, and the precision of the procedure sets the stage for accurate placement of your intraocular lens (IOL).
Learn more about how laser cataract surgery works.
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How Effective is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is by far the most effective and preferred treatment for cataracts. In fact, more than 14 million cataract procedures are performed every year—making cataract surgery the most commonly performed surgical procedure throughout the world.
Typically, it takes an experienced eye surgeon just 15 to 30 minutes to remove a patient’s cloudy, cataract-obstructed natural lens, replace it with a new intraocular lens (IOL), and restore the eye’s ability to pass light rays to the retina for a clearer, better-focused image.
Making the Right Choices
To better meet the needs of your specific eye health and lifestyle, Sharper Vision Centers offer a choice of several different types of replacement intraocular lenses (IOLs). The range of IOL choices, as well as their respective feature and benefits, are listed below.
Naturally, any decision regarding which type of cataract surgical procedure, and which replacement IOL, is best for you should only be made in consultation with Dr. Oyakawa—and only after a thorough review of your specific eye health, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
REFRACTIVE CATARACT SURGERY OPTIONS
Astigmatism and refractive error correction
Many people receiving cataract surgery also have a condition called astigmatism. If you have astigmatism, your cornea is irregularly shaped. Instead of being shaped like a basketball, it is shaped like a football. Astigmatism causes rays of light entering though different parts of the eye to focus unequally so that they never form a single focus. As a result, things look blurry because images are not focused clearly on the retina. Untreated, astigmatism requires glasses or special contacts.
Patients will have good distance vision and will need over the counter readers (glasses) for computer and reading. Any refractive errors are corrected.
Presbyopia-correcting options (refractive error and astigmatism also corrected)
If you have trouble reading up close, you may have presbyopia. Since most people with cataracts also have presbyopia, the good news is that both conditions can often be treated at the same time.
Several types of IOLs are available for correcting presbyopia. The presbyopia-correcting solutions offered at Sharper Vision Centers are listed below. Decisions about which procedure is best for you should be made in consultation with Dr. Oyakawa. The right presbyopia solution for you will depend on your eye health, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
These lenses use the muscles of the eye to change the shape of the IOL, similar to a slightly presbyopic eye. Unlike multifocal IOLs, they do not split light between various focal points to achieve presbyopia correction.
CrystalensAO™ IOL is designed to move forward and backward like the natural lens of a young, healthy eye. Dr. Oyakawa received the Crystalens® Center of Excellence award in January 2008. He also has a Crystalens AO in one eye. Learn more about CrystalensAO™ IOLs.
This demonstrates the movement of the CrystalensAO™ IOL as it focus from distant to near objects.
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Advantages of CrystalensAO™
Higher quality of vision compared to multifocal IOLs because light is not split between different focal points. Resulting in less glare and halos.
Excellent distant and intermediate vision, some patients may need inexpensive readers for prolonged reading.
Excellent for patients who do a lot of work on computers
Disadvantages of CrystalensAO™
Some patients may not recover muscle function to achieve enough accommodation to perform near tasks and need to use inexpensive readers.
Eyes are dilated for a few days after surgery to set the Crystalens in the correct position.
Readers are needed for two weeks after surgery to set the Crystalens in correct position.
Eye exercises are required to recover muscle function for accommodation.
More post operative visits are needed to monitor to progress.
These lenses have rings of different optical powers, similar to trifocal or progressive glasses, which bring distant, intermediate, and near objects into focus at the same time.
AcrySof® ReSTOR® Aspheric IOL and Tecnis® Aspheric Multifocal IOL are designed to provide quality vision throughout the entire visual spectrum—near through distance.
Advantages of AcrySof® ReSTOR® Aspheric IOL and Tecnis® Aspheric Multifocal IOL
Offers better depth perception than monovision.
Excellent near vision and distance vision.
Decreases or eliminates the use of glasses.
Disadvantages of AcrySof® ReSTOR® Aspheric IOL and Tecnis® Aspheric Multifocal IOL
Splits light into multiple images, reducing the quality of vision and inducing glare.
More halos and glare compared to monofocal IOLs, although most patients adapt. A few patients do not adapt and have difficulty driving at night.
Due to the bifocal design, intermediate vision (computer, cooking, etc.) is not as good and may require readers.
Near vision is dependent on the pupil size and in dim light, such as a restaurant, near vision is reduced.
Some patients are not candidates for this lens due to large pupils or certain types of eye diseases.
A monofocal IOL, such as the Crystalens, focuses light to a single point.
A diffractive multifocal IOL, such as the Restor®, splits light into two main images.
Monovision with aspheric Monofocal IOLs
Monovision is a strategy in which vision is optimized for one particular distance. Conventional (spherical monofocal) IOLs have been used to treat cataracts for over 30 years. Replacing the cataract with a conventional lens implant greatly improves vision at a single focal point (usually distance) but generally requires the use of reading glasses or bifocals for close-up and intermediate range vision. In some cases, the eyes are implanted with different lenses—one for near vision and one for far.
Advantages of aspheric IOLs for monovision
Cost effective treatment for previous successful monovision patients. These lenses are covered by Medicare and private insurances. Any existing astigmatism needs to be corrected for best results/vision (We recommend the laser assisted cataract surgery).
Decrease or eliminate the use of glasses
Disadvantages of aspheric IOLs for monovision
Binocularity (use of both eyes) is reduced for viewing objects.
Decrease in depth perception (ability to judge distance).
A compromise between good depth of field and decrease in use of glasses.
A few patients may need to use glasses for night driving or prolonged computer work and reading.
Some patients use one disposable contact lens in their near eye for good binocular vision during sports, such as tennis.
In rare situations, some patients may decide to have the eye with near vision corrected to allow distance vision.