Laser Cataract Surgery
Your Local Cataract Surgery Doctors
At Columbus Laser & Cataract Center, we know that you need clear vision to lead an enjoyable and fulfilling life. Our passion is delivering on that promise. Whether it’s completing normal daily tasks or appreciating the beauty of the Columbus scenery, getting clearer vision is one of the keys to a fulfilling life! We offer compassionate care and superior expertise proven through our excellent reviews and reputation. Our aim is to empower you and guide you on your journey to the healthier vision you deserve!
What Are Cataracts?
Developing cataracts is a natural part of aging. These cloudy lenses impact vision and quality of life in many ways—from causing blurry, spotty vision and sensitivity to light to impairing depth perception and reducing the vibrancy of colors. And, when left untreated, cataracts can lead to vision loss.
For millions of patients around the world, cataract surgery is often a life-changing procedure that removes cataracts and improves vision—all in one treatment. Each year, eye surgeons perform nearly 4 million of these surgeries with an impressive success rate. Though the majority of these are performed using the highly-advanced phacoemulsification (traditional) method, some are performed with the assistance of lasers. We’ve gathered everything you need to know about laser cataract surgery and how it differs from the traditional method.
What Is Traditional Cataract Surgery?
Over the years, cataract surgery has evolved tremendously. While it used to require large incisions, general anesthesia, and long periods of recovery, traditional cataract surgery today is a highly advanced, micro-incisional technique with a very high success rate (over 98%).
Using this technique, eye surgeons make a small incision in the cornea and create an opening in the capsule where the lens sits. They then use a small instrument to break up the cloudy lens and suction it out. Finally, they replace the once-cloudy lens with a vision-improving intraocular lens (IOL). (You can read more about these revolutionary medical devices here or find out more about cataracts here.) The entire surgical process takes around 10 minutes per eye and is performed under local or topical anesthesia to ensure that patients are comfortable. It usually requires no stitches and boasts a quick recovery time.
For many years, this technique was the only cataract surgery option available. It is still favored and considered by many to be the gold standard in treatment. For many surgeons and patients alike, traditional cataract surgery’s reliability, safety, and cost-effectiveness make it an extremely popular option. As technology has developed and changed, however, an alternative technique is now available: laser-assisted cataract surgery.
What Is Laser Cataract Surgery?
Laser cataract surgery, also called laser-assisted cataract surgery or femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS), was first FDA-approved in 2010. Since it is one of only two techniques used in modern cataract surgery, many patients are interested in learning more about this surgical method.
Though laser cataract surgery is a newer innovation, studies have shown that it offers the same results in terms of visual acuity, rates of complications, and length of recovery time as the traditional method. Because of this, there is no consensus in the medical community regarding which technique is best for the average patient. However, depending on specific health, vision, anatomical, or financial concerns, this laser method may be preferable in some cases over the traditional method and vice versa.
Laser cataract surgery involves many of the same steps as traditional cataract surgery. However, during laser cataract surgery, surgeons use a laser to make the initial incision in the cornea and the capsule before using laser energy to soften the cataract. Then, like traditional cataract surgery, surgeons remove the lens and replace it with an IOL. The procedure is quick, comfortable, and typically requires no stitches—like in the traditional method. It is important to note that laser cataract surgery has two distinct parts. First is the laser portion (making the incisions and softening the cataract with laser energy). After this is complete, the patient is then moved to an operating room for the physical cataract removal and IOL implantation.
Some studies have suggested that there are benefits to using a laser during cataract surgery, such as a possible reduction in inflammation and enhanced precision. However, ultimately, your surgeon’s skill is the most important factor that will influence the outcome of your cataract surgery—not the surgical equipment used.*
*Choosing an experienced, qualified surgeon is crucial for a healthy and effective cataract surgery result. When searching for an eye surgeon, be sure to do your research. Cataract surgery may be quick, but it is still an advanced surgery that directly impacts your lifelong vision. Ask questions regarding your potential surgeon’s success rate, experience, and qualifications. After examining you and learning more about your health and vision needs, a skilled surgeon will determine how to best proceed—safely and effectively—with your lifelong visual goals in mind.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Laser Cataract Surgery?
Though laser-assisted cataract surgery has benefits in some cases, not every patient qualifies or is a good candidate for it. Since the visual results of laser and traditional cataract surgery are the same, other factors might impact whether a surgeon chooses one technique over another for your eyes.
For instance, very dense or advanced cataracts may benefit from laser softening before removal. Likewise, surgeons may opt for laser cataract surgery if the patient has a dislocated lens or cataract.
However, several factors would also make laser cataract surgery not suitable for a patient. Certain preexisting conditions, like glaucoma, or specific anatomical issues, like small pupils, can make laser cataract surgery riskier. Likewise, a herpes infection of the eye might make a patient completely ineligible for laser cataract surgery. Finally, for patients who have previously had corneal refractive surgery, i.e. radial keratotomy (RK), laser-assisted cataract surgery is not recommended.
How Much Does Laser Cataract Surgery Cost?
While the visual results, recovery time, and complication rates of laser and traditional cataract surgery are the same, their costs differ significantly. Many insurance companies cover traditional cataract surgery. However, most do not cover the added expenses associated with laser cataract surgery. In turn, this treatment option tends to be more expensive overall and may not be covered by insurance. While cost should not be the most influential consideration when undergoing advanced surgery, we understand that it is important. And, it is one reason why this treatment is less commonly performed than traditional cataract surgery—despite having many of the same outcomes.
At Columbus Laser & Cataract Center, we always strive to offer the highest quality care while accommodating several vision savings plans, providing flexible financing options, and still trying to beat our competitors’ pricing. To learn more about financing, insurance, savings plans, and payment options at our practice, please click here.
Is Laser Cataract Surgery Right for Me?
The “right” cataract surgery is one that has been carefully tailored to your needs by an expert. It is not simply about deciding between laser or traditional cataract surgery. If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of cataract removal for yourself, please schedule an appointment with our surgeons. Because everyone has different eyes, vision, and health profiles, every treatment plan is unique and cannot be determined without thorough in-person examinations and tests. At Columbus Laser & Cataract Center, our expert surgeons will assess your eyes, take a detailed patient history, and conduct any necessary tests and measurements. After evaluating your eye health, vision, and overall wellness holistically, they will create a plan that is tailored to you.
Your cataract surgery’s success and outcome depend on your surgeon and the customized plan they create for you. Some of the factors that our surgeons consider while devising a cataract treatment include:
Preexisting conditions and patient history: Conditions, like dry eye or glaucoma, as well as previous surgeries you’ve undergone, like LASIK, can impact your cataract surgery options or results. A thorough patient history allows our experts to determine the appropriate treatment options available for your optimal visual result.
The condition of your eyes: Your treatment options will vary depending on your eyes. Factors like pupil size, how advanced your cataracts are, the shape of your astigmatism, your visual acuity, or your anatomy will all help our surgeons devise a safe and effective plan.
What is in a patient’s best interest: Our qualified surgeons care most about your health and lifelong vision. They will always choose what is in your best interest—weighing the benefits and risks of all options before selecting the safest and most effective treatment plan.
With so many factors to consider, it’s crucial that you only trust your vision to experts—especially for such an advanced eye surgery with lasting impact. No matter what surgical plan our experts create for your cataract removal, know that they are highly skilled with decades of experience, numerous board certifications, and the honor of being voted Columbus’ #1 cataract surgery center.
If you have any questions about cataract surgery, want to learn more, or are ready to schedule an appointment with our team, please call us today at (614) 939-1600. Our experts at Columbus Laser & Cataract Center look forward to helping you begin your journey to the clearer, healthier vision you deserve. We are always happy to speak with you about technology and advancements in eye surgery, potential treatment options, and your vision goals.
“I am so glad I chose Columbus laser and cataract center to do my procedure! The staff was absolutely amazing and made me feel right at home! I cannot say enough good things about the staff and their professionalism. Truly some of the most caring doctors in Columbus! My only regret is not having it done sooner!”