Traditional Cataract Surgery vs. Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are one of the most common ocular conditions seen in older patients, affecting more than 24 million Americans who are over the age of 40. Studies show that by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans will have a cataract in at least one eye. Unfortunately, it is a progressive condition that cannot be halted, and the only option for patients to be able to see once more is to undergo surgery. If you have been diagnosed with a cataract in both eyes, you are probably already thinking about surgery, particularly if your vision is already significantly compromised.

There are two types of surgery available for treating cataracts: traditional cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery. Both traditional cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery are considered common, safe, and effective; however, depending on your particular situation, one might be more advantageous than the other.

At Progressive Ophthalmology, our experienced cataract surgeon will determine the best kind of surgery for your condition.

Traditional Cataract Surgery

For a long time, traditional cataract surgery was the only treatment available for cataract patients. During traditional cataract surgery, your eye doctor would create a small incision in the side of the cornea by hand with a tiny scalpel blade, then an instrument is inserted through this incision into the area behind the pupil where the lens of the eye sits in a capsule.

Your cataract surgeon will use a special microsurgical instrument to create a circular opening in the lens capsule by hand. Next, a tiny probe is inserted through the opening. This probe emits ultrasound waves which cause the clouded area of the lens to break up so they can be removed from the eye by a gentle suction device.

After removing the cataract, an artificial lens is then implanted into the eye to replace the cloudy one, and the incision is left to self-seal. Typically stitches are not needed.

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Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

The overall process for laser-assisted cataract surgery is similar to that of traditional cataract surgery. However, rather than hand-held instruments to create the incisions, they are instead made using a high energy laser beam. The laser may also be used to precisely correct pre-existing corneal astigmatism.

This enables your eye doctor to combine their skill and experience to program the machine for a more accurate incision. Combining laser technology and human ability means that many people consider laser-assisted cataract surgery to be carried out with greater precision and accuracy, making the entire process feel safer. The incisions can also be made more quickly, potentially shortening the length of the surgery as a whole.

The recovery time for both traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery is the same, although patients should be aware that it can sometimes take months to fully recover from cataract surgery.

If you are suffering from cataracts and would like more information about traditional or laser-assisted cataract surgery, our dedicated eye care team would be delighted to help. Please call Progressive Ophthalmology today at 718-565-2020 to learn more.