A femtosecond laser for cataract surgery is so new, there aren't many more than a dozen in the world.
It's the first major advance in cataract surgery in about two decades, according to Dr. Kerry Solomon. Solomon believes this new laser will do for cataract surgery what LASIK has done for vision correction. He's been involved in the development of the new technology and is one of the first to use it.
"We think the laser technology is not only going to add safety, but will allow us to very precisely correct astigmatism and help improve our 20/20 rates," says Dr. Solomon.
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye making it difficult to see clearly and they affect 22 million Americans - most of them 40 or older. With more than three million cataract surgeries performed each year, the laser could some day offer those millions blade free cataract correction.
A pulse of laser energy is focused to a precise location inside the cornea. It's the same technology used in LASIK procedures, but is a first for cataract surgery.
"Many people think we've used lasers to remove cataracts - not the case - we use ultrasound, not lasers, until now," says Dr. Solomon.
Marcia Miller is a patient of Dr. Solomon's, and she was awake for the procedure.
The laser allowed Dr. Solomon to create incisions, treat Mrs. Miller's astigmatism, open her cataract and divide it - without opening up her eye.
She was then rolled across the hall to the operating room where, using ultrasound, Dr. Solomon removed the cataract and placed a new lens.
Mrs. Miller saw an immediate difference. "I could see very clearly - now colors are much brighter, it's exciting to be able to see without the glasses."
Dr. Solomon believes the laser is the wave of the future for cataract correction surgery. "My experience has been, every time we add a laser, it adds a level of safety and precision to the procedure."
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