Cataract Surgery | Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery | What to Expect?
Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed.
There is traditional cataract surgery and there is the new, bladeless laser cataract surgery available to remove a cataract. However, if symptoms from a cataract are mild, a change of glasses may be all that is needed to function more comfortably for a while. There are no medications, eye drops, dietary supplements, exercises or optical devices that have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Protection from excessive sunlight may help prevent or slow the progression of cataracts. Sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet (UV) light rays or regular eyeglasses with a clear, anti-UV coating offer this protection.
When should cataract surgery be done?
Cataract surgery should be considered when cataracts interfere with a person’s ability to live their desired lifestyle or perform daily tasks. When someone has a cataract that is causing visual symptoms, it is important to note that these symptoms will not improve without treatment.
Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis in our on-site Suncoast Surgery Center next door to our main office in Fort Myers. You will be given dilating eye drops, an eye drop anesthesic, and perhaps medications to help you relax to make your cataract removal virtually painless. No patch will be necessary following surgery, so you will be able to use your eye for vision immediately after surgery. Because your pupil will still be dilated after surgery, your eyesight may be somewhat blurry but will gradually improve over the next few hours and days.
After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. You are required to have someone drive you home and you should plan to have a responsible adult remain with you for a few hours following surgery.
What is the difference between Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery and traditional cataract surgery?
Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery
Dr. Frantz offers both bladeless laser cataract surgery and traditional cataract surgery. With bladeless laser cataract surgery, the first three steps of surgery are done with a computer controlled LenSx laser to ensure the highest-precision surgical incisions. The LenSx is unquestionably the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients.
LenSx utilizes a femtosecond laser, which has been used to perform LASIK surgery since FDA approval in 2001, and offers superior precision and results when compared to mechanical cuts used in traditional LASIK. This technology brought both improved safety and precision to the surgeon and the patient. Dr. Frantz was the first surgeon in southwest Florida to add the IntraLase femtosecond laser to provide a 100 percent bladeless iLASIK experience for his patients. This same innovation used for all-laser LASIK is now revolutionizing cataract surgery.
The three key patient benefits of the bladeless laser cataract surgery versus traditional cataract surgery are:
1) The laser provides a more precise circular incision around the cataract, improves the accuracy during placement of the intraocular lens implant, and leads to a greater likelihood of clearer vision. The main corneal incision is created through multiple planes to prevent potential wound leakage. A real time computerized laser imaging system guides the laser beam to the correct target during the surgery.
2) The laser pre-softens the cataract, allowing Dr. Frantz to minimize the use of ultrasound energy to remove the cataract lens. Decreased usage of ultrasound energy reduces the chances of thermal injury to tissues inside the eye, which lessens recovery time.
3) Astigmatism correction can be done at the time of cataract surgery using this laser as opposed to a manual incision using a surgical blade with traditional surgery. Astigmatism requires patients to wear glasses after cataract surgery. Correcting this at the time of cataract surgery lessens the needs for glasses subsequently.
All procedures done on the LenSx laser are considered premium refractive surgery and require out-of-pocket charges. We will be happy to discuss this with you during your visit, as well as flexible payment plans.
After the first three steps of your procedure are completed by the LenSx laser, you will be taken to the operating room for the cataract removal.
Traditional Cataract Surgery
In traditional cataract surgery, Dr. Frantz makes tiny incisions in your eye with a surgical blade rather than using the laser.
In both traditional cataract surgery and bladeless laser cataract surgery, microsurgical instruments are used in the operating room to suction the cloudy lens from the eye. The back membrane of the lens (called the posterior capsule) is left in place. A focusing intraocular lens is placed inside the eye to replace the natural lens that was removed. This focusing lens can correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, and may reduce your need for distance and reading glasses. The incision is self-sealing and heals without stitches.
Because there is no eye patch, the eye can be used for vision immediately after surgery. Normal bending and lifting is permitted; however, there are a few restrictions. Do not drive for 48 hours after surgery and we recommend no eye make up or swimming, tennis or golfing for one week.
Postoperative visits are needed to check on the progress of the eye as it heals. Improved vision is the result in over 95% of cases, unless there is a pre-existing problem with the cornea, retina or optic nerve.
In approximately one-fifth of people having cataract surgery, the natural capsule that supports the intraocular lens becomes cloudy after several months or years. When this occurs, a YAG laser is used to painlessly make an opening in the center of the membrane, restoring clear vision. There is no advantage to waiting and suffering with blurred vision when this quick, painless procedure can restore your vision.