What Do I Need To Know About Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is a life-changing operation that’s carried out on millions of Americans each year. The condition is common, can cause a significant deterioration in vision, and is generally related to increasing age. Over the past decades, the procedure has advanced dramatically. Today’s techniques can be carried out in two ways: laser-assisted and traditional.
Laser Eye Surgery vs. Traditional for Cataracts
- What is traditional cataract surgery?
- What is laser eye surgery for cataracts?
What is traditional cataract surgery?
Traditional cataract surgery is carried out under a local anesthetic and involves the surgeon making a small incision in the cornea with a scalpel. A probe can then be inserted into the capsule that contains the lens of the eye and ultrasound waves break up the lens. This is then removed through suction and an artificial lens—known as an intraocular lens (IOL)—is put in its place.
This procedure is known as Phacoemulsification.
What is laser eye surgery for cataracts?
Laser eye surgery, also called laser-assisted surgery, achieves the same results but uses advanced data mapping and a cold laser to gain access to the lens. In addition, the laser softens the lens before ultrasound is used to break the lens into pieces to be suctioned out. Once again the IOL is inserted and the incision closed. In the same way as the traditional method, the procedure is performed using a local anesthetic.
The advantages of laser eye surgery over that of traditional are as follows:
- Increased accuracy and consistency: The data mapping is unique to the individual, making the accuracy of placing the lens within the eye even more precise. This is the preferable option for those who’ve chosen a premium IOL (including toric and multifocal lenses)
- It’s a faster procedure: The pre-procedure eye anatomy mapping guides the ophthalmologist to the exact location of the incision. This effectively reduces the length of the operation
- Astigmatism can be treated at the same time: Because a laser is used, the surgeon can perform the dual purpose of reshaping the cornea during the same procedure.
While laser-assisted cataract surgery might sound like the preferable option, there are other things to consider.
It can only be carried out on those who are either having an advanced IOL inserted or if they’re having astigmatism treated at the same time. Traditional cataract surgery is often covered by medical insurance, whereas many policies won’t pay for laser surgery. For those who want to take advantage of their insurance, then traditional might be the preferred option.
How Do I Know if I Need Cataract Surgery?
- Eye examinations
- Cataract symptoms
Regular eye examinations are a crucial element in the management of cataracts. Increasing age brings with it the risk of developing cataracts. Because they initially present with little or no symptoms and are of gradual onset, the only way to know of the problem is through a detailed eye exam. Indeed, over 50% of Americans over age 80 have them, and the risk increases with each decade after the age of 40.
The symptoms of cataracts develop slowly over years and decades. The most common of these are:
- Blurred vision
- Glare around lights, particularly at night
- A yellowing of images
- Frequent prescription changes
- Double vision
Cataracts are painless and the degradation of vision is slow. Some may affect close vision, others lead to worsening distant vision. However, the common denominator is that as time goes by, the eyesight gets progressively worse. If left untreated they can ultimately cause blindness.
The WBEC is A Center of Excellence for Traditional and Laser Eye Surgery for Cataracts
As mentioned, the importance of regular eye examinations to diagnose and monitor the progression of cataracts can’t be overstated. The West Boca Eye Center, led by global cataract specialist, Brent Bellotte MD., is a one-stop, academic-grade clinic that can treat cataracts at every stage of the journey. From initial diagnosis through to either laser eye surgery or traditional surgery, your quality of vision cannot be in better hands.
Discover more about cataracts and the cutting-edge treatment available at https://westbocaeyecenter.com