“Laser cataract surgery is a rapidly advancing technology making the surgical procedure more efficient and safer,” he says. “It is also considered less risky because it can make a strategically placed incision without using a blade and without taking the surgeon’s experience into account. It also softens the cataract using less energy than the traditional procedure, reducing the risk for potential complications such as bleeding or retinal detachment.”
Even so, cataract laser surgery is new. The FDA first gave approval to several laser companies for laser cataract surgery in 2011.
“There are no large clinical studies claiming that laser cataract surgery is a superior technology than traditional surgery by an experienced cataract surgeon,” Grosinger says. The surgical procedure takes less than an hour, although patients may spend more time in recovery. Laser cataract surgery usually takes longer than traditional cataract surgery because the patient is first treated with the laser and then moved to the operating room for completion. Moreover, using lasers doesn’t seem to improve recovery time. Most people are mobile the same day as surgery and back to normal vision and activities in a few more days. Last year, Grosinger performed laser cataract surgery on Marty Goldman of Farmington Hill. “I used to have outstanding vision as a young man, later I needed reading glasses, and not that long ago I couldn’t drive at night. I had developed cataracts and couldn’t see very well. “Last year’s cataract surgery went very well,” he says. “There was no pain, no discomfort, and I was amazed at the result especially since I didn’t feel anything. The procedure seemed so simple, but the results were immediate. I see so much better and can drive at night.” The standard artificial (intraocular) lens used in cataract surgery basically corrects distance vision. Insurance policies generally cover the cost of these lenses although patients may still require glasses or contacts for close-up vision. Today, there are also premium lenses available that reduce the need for glasses that are more costly and not usually covered by insurance.
There is no research that states laser surgery is better than the conventional method for removing cataracts.Consensus is, however, that as laser surgery for cataracts continues to advance and the technology is refined, it’s likely that the use of lasers in cataract surgery will become more widespread and frequent.