Monday, October 24, 2011

Laser in Cataract Surgery

Cataract is a very common surgery conducted by the ophthalmologists worldwide. It is commonest cause of blindness in later life.
 Cataract in Human EyeImage via Wikipedia; Cataract
After many improvements now many cataract surgeries are being conducted in phaco-emulsification technique. In this technique the lens is emulsified by ultrasound and sucked out.
Recently, Femtosecond laser is used to assist in the cataract surgery and the device has been approved by FDA. Laser beam is delivered in very short pulses, 10-15 femtoseconds that delivers energy for a very short period, which is helpful in preventing damage to the surrounding tissue. 1 femtosecond is 10-15seconds.
 All-fiber femtosecond laser, Image via Wikipedia; Femtosecond laser
Before the actual surgery begins this laser is applied to slice the cataract and cut the anterior capsule of the lens called capsulotomy. The cut by laser is more precise and more circular than the standard procedure. The precise cut helps to hold the new plastic lens in place very nicely giving no chance for future lens displacement.
There after the lens is emulsified by the usual way that requires less ultrasound energy; about 45% less. It helps in less damage to the adjacent tissue that is prone for; from heat generated by the use of ultrasound for longer time to pulverize the lens.
The small cut in the cornea also heals nicely when laser is used. All cuts thise have to be performed are per-calculated by the apparatus. The femtosecong laser apparatus is also not available widely everywhere in US.
It has been seen that the surrounding tissue damage and damage to corneal endothelium is much less, near no; than the standard surgery; that maintains the corneal health for clarity of vision. The endothelium loss was found in one to seven percent of cases in phaco-emulsification technique.
At present the laser technique can be used in grade 1-4 cataract. Its use in future may help to prevent some complications and reduce the operating time. In future, it may totally replace the phaco-emulsification technique.
This laser technique is already in use in LASIK surgery for correction of near and far vision.
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