Cataract Surgery – The New Era

In a previous blog I discussed a new intraocular lens implant (IOL), which allows the surgeon to adjust the power of the lens to account for refractive errors after implantation. Although still in clinical trials for use in the U.S. this lens has been successfully used worldwide. This is among the many encouraging advancements that are improving surgery outcomes in ways we could only dream about a few short years ago.

Blade-Free Cataract Surgery

The Excimer laser was first approved for LASIK eye surgery. While a blade was still required to cut the corneal flap, the laser made tissue removal easier and far more efficient. With the advent and FDA approval of the femtosecond laser some three years later, surgeons no longer needed a blade to cut the flap.

The Femtosecond laser was a thing of brilliance in that it took precision to a level exceeding any expectations. It further increased speed, efficiency, safety, and comfort—benefitting the surgeon, and, most importantly, the patient. Further, femtosecond laser surgery has been found to lower the risk of corneal abrasions, irregular flaps, and other complications. In many of the same ways this revolutionary laser transformed LASIK surgery, it is essentially doing the same for cataract surgery.

The LenSx Laser was the first femtosecond laser cleared for use in cataract surgery; initially for anterior capsulotomy, lens fragmentation and corneal incisions, and in 2013 for arcuate incisions. Since my practice adopted this technology that same year we continue to see a marked increase in precision and accuracy. In short, the LenSx allows the surgeon to customize the cataract procedure to each eye’s unique features for more precise, predictable results.

Further Technology Advancements

Proudly, our practice was the first in Dallas/Fort Worth to commercially acquire the Verion Image-Guided System. This revolutionary technology captures each eye’s unique features in order for the LenSx to be utilized most effectively. It first creates a high-resolution image of the patient’s eye, mapping important details and measurements. This forms the road map the surgeon will follow throughout the entire procedure for a more precise incision and both the positioning and alignment of the intraocular lens.

Another enhancement, the Centurion Vision System, improves on a fundamental necessity to every cataract procedure—removal of the cataract or “phacoemulsification,” where the cataract is softened and aspirated from the eye. Certainly cataract removal had already advanced tremendously before this technology was approved. The Centurion’s biggest benefit is that it automatically adapts to changing conditions within the eye and offers improved stability; this more precisely pinpoints the tiniest fragments for more efficient removal of the cataract.