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Cataract surgery breakthrough: Advanced technique is a game-changer

Cataract surgery breakthrough: Advanced technique is a game-changer

By Chris Coyne

Cataracts are the leading cause of poor vision in adults. Over 20 million Americans over 40 are affected by cataracts and the percentages of those affected increases with age. A cataract is the clouding of the eye's lens. The lens is responsible for focusing an image after it enters the eye.

When the lens is cloudy, passage of light through the eye is blocked and the result is cloudy or blurred vision in varying degrees depending on the severity of the cataract. The condition can only be corrected by replacing the lens, a surgical procedure that has helped millions of people save their eyesight. In fact modern cataract surgery techniques have made the procedure one of the most successful surgeries performed in the United States.

How Does Cataract Surgery work?

With a traditional cataract procedure, an incision is made in the cornea; the lens is then broken up and removed using ultrasound. The replacement lens is then inserted and put in place through the incision.

A patient's astigmatism can be corrected during the procedure to improve their vision further. The incision is so small that stiches are not required after surgery, but there are steps that need to be taken for recovery and the healing is gradual.

There are different types of lens replacements, perhaps the most successful being the intraocular lens, or IOL, as it allows the patient to experience excellent near, intermediate and distance-these lenses can even reduce patient's need for glasses after surgery. Cataract surgery is a common procedure, and as we've said, typically very successful, however, recent advancements in technology have allowed surgeons to provide even more precise, predictable results with shorter recovery time, with a laser.

Laser Technology Takes Procedure to a New Level

It's called a femtosecond laser and it's an exciting advance in the way doctors treat cataracts. Healthy Life spoke to Dr. Daniel Sambursky of Ophthalmic Associates in Johnson City about this game changing technology. Dr. Sambursky recently became the only surgeon in the region to offer femtosecond laser procedures, using a LenSx ® laser, for cataract patients and he talked to us about why is such an exciting breakthrough.

"I'm excited to offer the laser assisted cataract surgery because now I can treat patients using a blade-free procedure," he says, "The procedure now is more automated and the custom guided laser allows for a more precise and accurate surgery that results in better patient outcomes. The laser provides an increase in the predictability of visual outcomes and reduces variables which have complicated traditional cataract surgery."

Read more about the LenSx Laser

With the femtosecond laser tool, the surgeon creates a precise surgical plan using a sophisticated 3-D image to map out an incision in a specific location, depth and length in all planes. The laser then makes the incision accurately, and studies have shown that the laser works better in terms of accuracy and reproducibility, and the laser allows for better centering of the replacement lens as well. Even the portion of the surgery that removes and breaks down the cataract-affected lens; the laser uses less energy to soften and break down the lens into smaller pieces, reducing the chances of compromising the incision.

This advanced technology is just another example of how medical fields are constantly striving to improve and innovate to offer patients the best possible outcomes. The new laser cataract procedure offers patients an even better chance at better vision. It's a game-changer.

Daniel Sambursky, MD, FACS
Ophthalmic Associates of The Southern Tier
48 Harrison Street
Johnson City, NY