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Study Confirms Laser Cataract Surgery Is Safer

May 20, 2019

A recent study reported in the American Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery proves that laser-assisted cataract surgery is safer than traditional, manual cataract surgery.  

Mercy Eye Specialists from Springfield, Missouri designed a series of surgical cases for 4 surgeons in order to test for rates of vitreous loss. Vitreous loss adversely affects vision, causing researchers to look for surgical techniques that pose the least danger to this fluid.

The study consisted of a total of 7,155 cases between 2010 and 2014. From 2010 to 2012, 3,784 were performed using manual cataract surgery and from 2013 to 2014 3,371 surgeries were performed using laser-assisted cataract surgery.

The rate of vitreous loss with exclusions using manual cataract surgery was 1.17% compared to 0.65% in the laser-assisted group. Without exclusions, however, the rate was 1.40% versus 0.77% and generally, the rate decreased for every surgeon in the study.

The analysis concluded the surgeries performed from 2010 to 2012 using the manual cataract surgery method were 1.6 to 1.8 times more likely to be associated with vitreous loss than surgeries performed with thee laser-assisted technique. Since vitreous loss increases the risk for other complications of cataract surgery, the laser-assisted surgical technique provides an added element of safety

Cataracts are a normal part of aging and develop slowly over time, with more than 50% of people over the age 65 evidencing cataract formation. Cataracts occurs when protein build-up in the eye clouds the normally transparent lens. By analogy, the experience of having cataracts is akin to looking through a fogged up window pane, though cataract formation can be so gradual that symptoms are often not registered until the condition becomes fairly advanced. When symptoms are experienced, they include:

  • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing halos around light sources
  • Frequently changed vision prescription
  • Objects in the visual field assuming a yellow cast.

Cataracts can be easily and safely treated with an patient procedure that removes the clouded lens and replaces it with a new, artificial one. However, if left untreated, cataracts will worsen over time to the point of functional blindness. Although cataract development due to age may be unavoidable, there are lifestyle variables that can be taken into account in order to slow the formation and decrease the severity of cataracts:

  • Limit ultra-violet radiation exposure and always wear protective eyewear.
  • Stop smoking as studies have shown that smokers develop cataracts sooner than non-smokers.
  • Be aware of your medications and their side effects, such as steroids, as these can increase your chances of developing cataracts.
  • Take care of your overall health since developing hypertension or diabetes can increase your risk.

The research findings reviewed earlier in this article indicating that laser-assisted cataract surgery is safer than manual cataract surgery confirm what OCLI’s Dr. Cary Silverman has been saying for many years. This is why at OCLI we offer only laser-assisted cataract surgery, and why we deliver all of our vision health services with state-of-the-art technology and the safest, most advanced techniques.

At OCLI, you’ll find the highest quality of care, the broadest range of treatment, and the friendliest personal service anywhere in New Jersey. From LASIK vision correction to laser-assisted cataract surgery, to dry eye treatment, to relief for digital eye strain, to routine vision exams and the latest trends in eyewear, OCLI is New Jersey’s premier vision health provider. Contact us today! We’d love to hear from you!

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