Bladeless cataract surgery in Kentuckiana

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Laser assisted cataract surgery is now available in Kentuckiana. Eye Associates in Jeffersonville started using the new LenSX about six weeks ago and doctors there have already performed over 100 procedures.

"This laser makes exactly the same incision every time.  It is so precise that we can't match that," said Dr. Bradley Black, an eye surgeon in Louisville in his 30th year of practice.  

Early studies show the bladeless laser technology is more accurate, but research is on going to determine if the laser makes the surgery any safer.  

Patients lining up at Eye Associates for the bladeless option which includes about one third of the clinic's cataract patients thus far, apparently don't need to wait for study results.  

Judy Stover is 64 and thinks it has to be a better way. "I think any improvement over a regular knife if it's precise, I mean, it's your eyes," she said.

The LenSx is a so-called femtosecond laser approved by the FDA to perform parts of a cataract procedure. Suction is applied to the eye to hold it in place and then by using 3-D imaging the device measures the eye to know exactly where to make the needed incisions.

The cataract is also divided by the laser to help ease removal and it can correct slight astigmatism.  A lot of baby boomers however are choosing to implant bifocal or other specialized lenses giving them sight they haven't had for years.  Stover is ready to say goodbye to glasses for good.

Insurance doesn't pay for the cost which is around $1000 an eye, but at Eye Associates the surgery cost is included for patients who do choose a specialized lens implant which can run between $1500 and $3000.  

As for safety, "If everything is done identically the same every time and it's exactly precisely done every time, it stands to reason in the end it will be a safer, better procedure with better outcomes," said Dr. Black.

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