Early in 2013, I wrote a blog piece about the addition of femtosecond laser technology as an adjunct to our traditional technique of phacoemulsification cataract surgery. Now, I would like to revisit this concept and share my experience of the past several months with you. I am currently certified to use both the Alcon LenSx as well as the Bausch & Lomb Victus femtosecond lasers for laser-assisted cataract surgery.
In my opinion, cost aside, not every patient is a good candidate for femtosecond laser-assisted surgery. For instance, because of the extra step and extra time involved, patients compromised by medical issues and those with extreme anxiety are not ideal candidates. In addition, patients not able to speak English or those with hearing impairment, frequently also have difficulty with the process. Other patients are unsuitable in light of the anatomy of their eye socket.
Nevertheless, there are many patients who have already benefited from this technology and many subsets of patients where femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is clearly beneficial. For instance, patients with very advanced cataract may benefit in light of the ability of the laser to cut the cataract into small pieces and, hence, reduce the operative time and the amount of ultrasound energy utilized during phacoemulsification. Other patients, such as those with prior trauma to their eye,or patients with certain ocular conditions may also see benefit for the same reasons. Finally, patients with mild to moderate degrees of astigmatism and those needing perfect placement of their intraocular lens (for instance, the Alcon Restor multi-focal) are also good candidates.
In summary, patients who fit into one of the categories above and who are willing to spend additional, out-of-pocket dollars for their surgery are likely to benefit from the added precision and safety of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery. This service is available to my patients at both the St. Charles Surgery Center and the St. Louis Eye & Surgery Center.