Woolfson Eye Institute announced today that they will be adding laser cataract surgery to their practice during September 2014. This technology was introduced in 2011 with the current version receiving its most recent FDA approval in 2012.
Laser cataract surgery, more correctly called femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery (FLACS), has been carefully monitored by the Woolfson team of cataract experts, which consists of Jason Brody, MD, Trip Cook, MD, James Hays, MD, Brian Salmenson, MD and Doyle Stulting, MD, PhD. The Woolfson surgeons have very recently deemed this new cataract procedure to be adequately proven technology to be of benefit to their patients.
Traditional Cataract Surgery
Traditional cataract surgery has several steps: First, the surgeon creates tiny incisions in the cornea (the clear front of the eye) through which he can insert instruments. Then, he creates a round opening called a “capsulorhexis” in the front of the lens capsule. Next comes “phacoemulsification,” which is removal of the cloudy crystalline lens (cataract) by the use of ultrasound, which fragments the lens into pieces that are suctioned out. Then comes insertion of the lens implant. Sometimes, additional corneal incisions called “limbal relaxing incisions” (LRIs) can be created with a special blade in order to decrease astigmatism. LRIs can be performed during the procedure or later.
Laser Cataract Surgery
In femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery, the laser has FDA approval to create any corneal incisions as well as the capsulorhexis, and can also be used in the fragmentation of the cataract prior to its removal from the eye. The femtosecond laser has been clearly shown to be superior to a manual instrument in creating a perfectly round and perfectly centered capsulorhexis, as well as smoother and more accurate astigmatism treating incisions (LRIs). These two features should provide the potential for more precise results.
Current insurance regulations deem that only patients having specialty (or “premium”) lens implants or those who are undergoing astigmatism correction along with their cataract surgery can opt for FLACS. Patients undergoing implantation of standard lenses and those who are not receiving astigmatism treatment cannot currently have this technology used for their surgery, even if they are willing to pay for it.
“Our practice has experience in carefully assessing innovations in eye surgery,” said Jonathan Woolfson, MD, the founder and Medical Director of the practice. “We enjoy a great reputation in the eye care community for our expertise in matching the right technology to the right patient. If this laser will help patients to receive a better result, our surgeons will use it. But it’s also clear that not every patient will need laser cataract surgery.”
Woolfson Eye Institute cataract surgeons offer FLACS at their award winning surgery center in Sandy Springs.