What You Should Expect During Femtosecond Cataract Laser Surgery

Jul 19, 2021

Do you want to improve your eyesight with minimally invasive surgery? Here’s what you should expect during femtosecond cataract laser surgery.

Across the globe, around 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment issue. One of the leading causes of blindness and vision impairment is cataracts that aren’t treated. Addressing cataracts early on ensures your eyesight stays intact and you don’t suffer from blindness or other issues. 

Cataract surgery is typically done with a blade; however, there have been recent advancements that make the procedure less invasive. Femtosecond cataract laser surgery replaces many steps that require a blade with a laser. This enables the surgeon to remove cataracts more easily and smoothly. 

If you’re suffering from cataracts and are looking for a minimally invasive way to improve your eyesight, you should talk to your eye surgeon about laser cataract surgery. This guide will go over everything you need to know. 

What Are Cataracts?

For people over the age of 60, their vision may become cloudy or blurry. The likely cause of this is cataracts. Cataracts are a common eye condition in older individuals. They usually form slowly and a person might not realize they have them until cataracts start to block light. 

Additional symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Foggy, cloudy, filmy, or blurry vision 
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Changes in the way colors appear
  • Double vision in the eye with cataracts
  • Issues with glare
  • Trouble seeing with contact lenses or glasses

Cataracts start to form with protein and begin to build up in your eye’s lens. That makes your vision cloudy since light isn’t able to pass through clearly. It can also result in an individual losing their eyesight. 

Your eye doctor will diagnose your cataracts based on your systems and by conducting some tests, such as a retinal exam and visual acuity test. 

Eye surgery is typically the only cataract treatment plan that’s effective. However, you might not need it right away if you catch cataracts at an early stage. You can get a stronger lens prescription in the meantime before you need more permanent eye treatment. 

What is Femtosecond Cataract Laser Surgery?

Femtosecond cataract laser surgery removes the clouded lens in a patient’s eye. It then places an artificial prescription lens in the person’s eye. It’s a minimally invasive surgery that doesn’t require blades. 

Cataract laser surgery is an outpatient procedure. There are a few steps included in the procedure that is done with a laser device:v

  • Incision: The laser is used to make a small incision in the eye
  • Phacoemulsification: An ultrasonic vibration is sent into the eye at a high speed that dissolves the cataract into tiny pieces that are then suctioned out
  • Capsulotomy: Removal of the lens
  • Replacement: A new artificial prescription lens is placed into the eye’s existing capsule

An eye surgeon performs laser cataract surgery. Patients receive local anesthesia and pain control through an IV. 

Femtosecond cataract laser surgery can also correct mild astigmatism. It relaxes the eye’s cornea at a precise length, orientation, and depth compared to incisions that are made by hand. 

Benefits of Laser Cataract Surgery Over Traditional Surgery

Laser cataract surgery has some advantages over traditional cataract surgery. Laser incisions can seal better than cuts made with a blade. This results in the eye healing faster. 

During the phacoemulsification portion of laser cataract surgery, there’s less energy used than with traditional surgery. This helps reduce the risk of complications. These complications can include bleeding, damage to the eye’s capsule, or retinal detachment. 

The multifocal lens implants that are used during laser cataract surgery also reduce a patient’s dependence on eyeglasses after the surgery. 

How to Prepare for Laser Cataract Surgery 

Work with a qualified eye surgeon office to see how much of the procedure your insurance will cover. You want to prepare for the financial aspect of your surgery before you get started.

Your eye surgeon will look at your eye’s structure by dilating your pupils. They’ll also conduct blood tests. The surgeon will plan out your laser cataract surgery based on the information they discover. 

Additionally, you’ll also have an electrocardiogram (EKG) and chest x-ray done as part of the pre-surgical testing. 

Your surgery will be done in a room at your eye surgeon’s office. You’ll be able to go home the same day as your surgery. Your eye surgeon will advise as to whether or not you can eat or drink before your procedure. 

While you can go home after your procedure, you should bring someone with you that can drive you home. 

What to Expect the Day of Your Surgery

The surgery itself takes around 20 minutes to complete. Light anesthesia will be injected into your eye or with liquid drops so you don’t feel anything. 

Your eye surgeon will place a surgical drape over your face. Your eye will be open the entire time during your procedure. Your surgeon will use a small retractor to keep it open during the surgery. 

You’ll also need to stay completely still and lie flat during the surgery. You won’t be sedated during the laser part of the procedure, as falling asleep could result in your body or head moving. 

Since the incision in your eye is self-sealing, stitches aren’t needed. You may need bandages over your eye as protection. After the surgery is completed, you’ll head into a recovery area. 

Recovery from laser cataract surgery takes a few weeks. You’ll start to sell more clearly a few days after the surgery. Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe to start driving again. 

Make an Appointment With the Vision Center of New York 

If you’ve started having problems with your eyesight and are experiencing cloudy or blurred vision, you may need cataract laser surgery. Don’t wait too long to contact our office for a consultation appointment. Dr. Gary Fishman and Dr. Simon Wu at Vision Centers of New York will work with you to create a treatment plan that keeps you seeing clearly for years to come. Reach out to our office today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.