Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful surgeries performed in the world today. It is a safe and effective treatment for restoring vision, and there are two main types of cataract surgery: traditional and laser-assisted. Both procedures have a high success rate, but laser-assisted cataract surgery may be slightly safer due to its reduced risk of complications and shorter recovery time. Traditional cataract surgery, also known as manual cataract surgery, is performed using three main steps.
First, an incision is made in the eye to allow access to the lens. Then, an ultrasound probe is used to break the lens into pieces and gently remove them from the eye. Finally, an artificial lens is inserted to replace the natural lens. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is a newer procedure that uses a femtosecond laser to make the incision and break up the lens.
This type of bladeless cataract surgery has several advantages, including fewer tools used in the process, which increases overall safety. It also has a higher success rate and faster visual recovery period than traditional cataract surgery. In a prospective, randomized cohort study with 100 eyes from 100 patients, 92% of those who underwent femtosecond laser cataract surgery were within ± 0.50 D of the objective refractive result at 6 months post-operation, compared to 71% in the conventional group. The study also found that laser-assisted cataract surgery improved visual results only minimally but had an advantage in favor of the laser in the early postoperative visual recovery period (up to 1 week).
A Cochrane review of 16 randomized controlled trials found that there was insufficient evidence to determine if laser-assisted cataract surgery was superior or equivalent to standard manual phacoemulsification for the results chosen. However, there are several contraindications, and some patients may benefit better from manual cataract surgery. The success rate of cataract surgery is between 98 and 99%, regardless of the method you choose. To discuss your options further and see if traditional or laser-assisted cataract surgery is right for you, contact an experienced surgeon like Dr. Dougherty at Dougherty Laser Vision for a free consultation.