Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery
Our Ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) at the Pernoud Eye Institute are now happy to offer Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery (LACS) to interested patients. Perhaps more than any other surgical procedure, cataract surgery has advanced through the years. What was once an inpatient surgery with extended in-hospital recovery time has now become the most commonly performed outpatient surgery here in the US. Old aphakic spectacles (glasses for people without lenses) have been replaced with modern intraocular lens implants (IOLs) that can be tailored to each patient’s visual needs. Incision size has shrunk to a few millimeters or less and stitches are rarely, if ever, needed at the end of the case. Operating time and efficiency have improved so that now, straightforward cases can take as little as 10 minutes. Indeed, the current cataract surgery patient has options that their parents never would have considered possible. LACS is now the latest option our surgeons have to offer.
Femosecond Laser (FS Laser)
LACS involves the use of a Femtosecond laser (FS laser) to perform key steps of cataract surgery. FS lasers emit optical pulses of extremely short duration (one-quadrillionth of a second) that allows them to create surgical incisions with extreme precision while at the same time eliminating damage to the surrounding tissue. FS lasers have been commonly used since 2002 in LASIK surgery and only more recently have they become FDA approved for cataract surgery in the US.
Current FS lasers available today for LACS are approved to make the incisions used during cataract surgery, create corneal incisions to minimize astigmatism, perform the anterior capsulotomy (surgical opening made on front surface of bag that surrounds the cataract), and even treat the cataract and break it into smaller pieces prior to being removed by phacoemulsification (phaco). No laser is currently approved that simply vaporizes the cataract and all FS laser platforms still require the pieces of the cataract to be removed from the eye using phaco.
Early experience and scientific study regarding LACS indicates that accuracy and reproducibility can be improved in certain steps of surgery and that the ultrasound energy needed during phaco can be reduced, all of which should be beneficial to the patient.
Out Of Pocket Expense
Currently, no insurance will pay for the laser portion of LACS. Patients who are motivated can select LACS and pay for it as an out of pocket expense as long as certain requirements are met (treatment of astigmatism or use prior to implantation of an advanced technology IOL). This will not affect insurance coverage of the remainder of the surgery.
Our surgeons are happy to offer their patients LACS with the VICTUSTM FS laser. Call or contact us online to find out more about this amazing technology.