Laser Cataract Surgery
This type of cataract surgery is also known as femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery or FLACS procedures. Normally during cataract surgery the surgeon performs all the key steps of cataract surgery by hand. This is often not addressing astigmatism at all, or addressing it by freehand with incisions into the cornea using a blade. FLACS, in contrast, is when a surgeon uses a femtosecond type laser to aid in performing some key steps of cataract surgery. This process automates these critical steps of the procedure, and can aid in delivering more precise astigmatism correction, and improved uncorrected visual outcomes for patients (ie better vision independent of glasses)
When preforming FLACS, the surgeon will use the laser to make any necessary corneal incisions as well as the opening in the lens capsule to access the cataract for removal. The surgeon will also use the laser to soften the cataract making it easier to remove often resulting in less dissipated sound energy inside the eye known as “phaco energy”. Phaco energy is the dissipated sound energy from the phacoemulsification hand piece used in the breaking up and removal process of the cataract. Excessive phaco energy expenditure during a cataract surgery can lead to swelling in the cornea after the surgery, and may delay recovery time. FLACS helps to reduce the amount of phaco energy dissipated inside the eye.
For patients choosing a FLACS procedure, special measurements are needed in order to map the eye in more detail. This information is then relayed to the femtosecond laser device and used to program the exact location, size, and depth of corneal incisions. The femtosecond laser device uses photo recognition software to help guide the surgeon’s astigmatism correcting incisions during the procedure as well as any incisions that need to be placed on and inside the eye.
FLACS can allow the surgeon greater precision in correcting mild to moderate amounts of astigmatism as well as more accurate placement of the opening in the lens capsule which may result in better IOL centration when placing premium IOLs. It may also help to reduce the amount of phaco energy dissipated in the eye during cataract surgery.
Is Laser Cataract Surgery Right For Me?
- You are found to have mild to moderate astigmatism during your consultation.
- You wish the astigmatism to be corrected at the time of your cataract surgery.
The laser will be used to make specific incisions known as “arcuate incisions” that are designed to flatten the corneal curvature and correct mild to moderate astigmatism.
Your surgeon can also perform laser cataract surgery if you choose an advanced technology intraocular lens (ATIOL) for implantation. For example, this may be a “toric” lens for high astigmatism correction or a “multifocal/trifocal” intraocular lens (IOL). Using the laser can allow for better centering of the IOL leading to better visual outcomes when using these types of ATIOL devices.
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