What is Laser Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the world. In conventional cataract surgery, the surgeon uses hand held instruments to manually create a circular opening in the outer shell of the cataract. Next the surgeon uses instruments to break up and remove the cataract. Finally, the surgeon implants an artificial intraocular lens inside the remaining shell to replace the natural lens.
In recent years, laser technology—which is used in procedures such as LASIK—has been incorporated into cataract surgery to enhance the precision and accuracy of the procedure. Laser cataract surgery has shown excellent results for accurate self-sealing corneal incisions, arcuate incisions to reduce astigmatism, highly circular, strong and well-positioned capsulorhexis, and safer and less technically difficult removal of the cataract with almost complete elimination of energy in the eye to break up the cataract.
Benefits of Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery
The computer-guided, surgeon-controlled laser has a number of advantages when compared to traditional cataract surgery, including:
- Greater surgical precision
- No hand held surgical blades for corneal incisions and opening the lens capsule
- The custom-guided laser is uniquely programmed for the most precise treatment on each individual
- Automates what are typically very challenging steps in traditional cataract surgery
In addition, because the laser softens the lens and divides it into small pieces, the cataract removal procedure is easier. Despite these apparent advantages, at present there is no scientific evidence that femtosecond assisted cataract surgery is safer or more successful than standard phacoemulsification.
What are the risks?
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and successful surgeries available. There are risks associated with all surgical procedures, even those using laser surgery techniques. Any type of cataract surgery may result in complications that might affect your vision. Fortunately problems related to cataract surgery are rare and Dr. McCarthy is a highly experienced surgeon and makes every effort to minimize risks and make sure the procedure is as safe as possible. All the risks, benefits and alternatives of cataract surgery will be discussed with you during your cataract consultation and we encourage you to contact us at any time if you require additional information.
Where is laser cataract surgery performed?
Dr. McCarthy performs Femtosecond Laser Enhanced Robotic Cataract Surgery only at the Cambie Surgery Centre. Laser Cataract Surgery is not currently medical benefit under the British Columbia Medical Services Plan and is not available in the public hospital system.
Please contact Dr. McCarthy’s office for the latest wait times at Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver and Surrey Memorial Hospital and Valley Surgical Centre in Surrey. Dr. McCarthy performs Femtosecond assisted cataract surgery at Cambie Surgical Centre and expedited standard phacoemulsification at Valley Surgical Centre.