For many people, cataracts are a normal part of aging. Blurred vision brought on by cataracts can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, resulting in difficulty completing daily tasks like driving, reading or even recognizing faces. Now, new laser technology like laser-assisted cataract surgery is making a huge impact on how cataracts are corrected and the quality of vision after surgery.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a darkening or clouding of the eye’s internal lens as a result of protein clumping together in the lens. Cataracts are degenerative, occurring slowly over time causing the eye’s normally clear lens to become cloudy or hazy.
How does Cataract Surgery Work?
Modern cataract surgery can be done in one of two ways: 1) Traditional cataract surgery and 2 ) Laser-assisted cataract surgery. Both procedures involve the removal of the original lens and the insertion of an artificial lens in its place, and are usually done on an outpatient basis, usually performed while the patient is awake with eye drops used to numb the patient’s eye. Although it takes about a week to fully heal, many patients find that their vision is restored as soon as the next day.
What are the Benefits of Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery?
What sets laser-assisted cataract surgery apart from traditional cataract surgery is the ability to not only replace the patient’s clouded lens with greater precision, but also the ability to correct existing astigmatism in the patients eye, often minimizing or eliminating the need for eyeglasses. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped, preventing light from properly focusing on the retina and blurring vision.
One common thing I hear from patients after cataract surgery is that they immediately see brighter than they ever have before. Some compare it to moving from analog to high definition TV. The benefit of laser-assisted surgery is that it not only allows patients to have a minimized need for glasses, but it also allows the surgery to be much more precise.
The laser-assisted cataract surgery at Ochsner Baptist uses two different types of lasers. The first is the Catalys femtosecond laser which provides a more precise cut than traditional cataract surgery. The second is the ORA System laser which takes measurements during surgery to determine the exact lens power that the patient’s eye needs. The result of this combination of technology is a more precise surgery with outcomes that have the potential to greatly improve the patient’s vision beyond the scope of traditional cataract surgery.
For more information on cataract surgery, call 504-313-3135 or visit www.ochsner.org.