Cataracts are usually an age-related clouding of the lens of the eye. People who are significantly affected by cataracts benefit from lens-replacement surgery. The new lens is called an Intraocular Lens, or IOL.
The cloudy lens allows less light to reach the retina, causing vision to be indistinct and fuzzy. Other symptoms include annoying glare, poor night vision, reduced contrast and diminished color perception.
Cataract surgery is performed at an outpatient ambulatory surgical center. Patients are given mild intravenous sedation and local anesthesia. In most situations, patients are candidates for a “dropless” procedure that markedly reduces the need for frequent and expensive post-operative drops. Most patients can drive 24 hours after surgery and can return to work within a couple of days. Strenuous physical activity is restricted for one week.
Basic Cataract Surgery
Phacoemulsification, or ultrasound disassembly of the cataract, is performed using the innovative Alcon Centurion® Vision System, minimizing inflammation and complications, and allowing quicker visual recovery.
Using phacoemulsification, the cataract is removed through microscopic incisions and replaced with a new artificial lens, or IOL. With the advance of foldable IOLs, artificial lenses can be implanted through the same small incision from the phaco procedure, usually requiring no stitches.
Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery
Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery (sometimes referred to as Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery or LACS) is performed using the state-of-the-art Catalys® Precision Laser System or LenSx® Laser System and provides patients with several benefits. It allows the surgeon to treat mild to moderate astigmatism, minimizing the need for distance glasses after surgery. The laser also makes the incisions necessary for surgery, allowing for more precise outcomes. Softening the cataract with the laser allows the surgeon to minimize ultrasound energy, promoting quicker visual recovery.
Watch this video to explore the differences between Basic and Laser Cataract Surgery.
Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Intraocular lenses are about the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny and weigh about the same as a kernel of corn. They are produced to the precise curvature needed to bend light rays into focus on the retina at the back of your eye.
When patients have moderate to high levels of astigmatism, Toric Lens Implants are used in conjunction with the femtosecond laser in order to maximize distance vision without glasses.
Multifocal and Extended Depth of Focus Lens Implants, used in conjunction with the femtosecond laser, allow patients to maximize vision while reducing the need for both distance and reading glasses.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) involves using microscopic implants during cataract surgery in patients who suffer from both cataracts and glaucoma. This treatment, performed at the time of cataract surgery, reduces intraocular pressure after surgery, thereby controlling glaucoma.
What is the Capsule?
The natural lens of the eye is held in place by a thin clear membrane called the lens capsule. The capsule completely surrounds the lens and separates it from the thick fluid in the vitreous (the back of the eye) and the aqueous (the thinner fluid in the front of the eye). Following cataract surgery, the capsule holds the new intraocular lens (IOL) in place.
YAG Laser Capsulotomy
Often, the posterior or back portion of the capsule becomes cloudy after cataract surgery, detrimentally affecting vision. When this happens, a YAG Laser Capsulotomy is recommended.
The YAG laser is used to clear the membrane and restore clear vision. The treatment takes just a few minutes in the outpatient clinic. No anesthesia is used. The eye is dilated and the laser is aimed with a beam of red light. The patient will see a flash and hear a click. There is no pain or discomfort. Patients can drive immediately after the procedure.