The Capsulotomy Procedure in Laser Cataract Surgery
Written by Lisa Marie Wark, MBA & Assoc.,*
Today, traditional or "typical" cataract surgery is by far one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the world. With the right surgeon, such as Dr. Darrick Neibaur from Nevada Eye & Ear, cataract surgery is also the safest and most effective course of treatment with highly predictable outcomes. Dr. Neibaur specializes specifically in the use of advanced technology laser cataract surgery, which makes him an excellent choice for individuals who want to achieve the next level in precise vision correction.
Making the Cataract Incision
In traditional surgeries for cataract removal, the surgeon will use a hand-held scalpel with a metal or diamond blade in order to make a delicate incision into the cornea. The aim of making the incision is to carefully create a partial cut vertically, then move horizontally in the cornea and enter the eye. From there, the surgeon can break up and remove the cloudy cataract, located behind the pupil, and insert an intraocular lens to replace it. For surgeons using the laser-operated approach to cataract surgery a precise surgical plan can be mapped out using a 3D image of the entire eye, called an optical coherence tomography. OCT is a form of technology that allows your cataract surgeon to map out the depth of the incisions that will be made using the laser. It offers a cross-sectional high-resolution image to make the surgery as simple as possible. The aim is typically to create an incision within a certain location, and with the OCT image and a laser, this incision can be made with greater precision and detail than ever before. This is crucial in terms of accuracy, but it also increases the likelihood that that the incision will seal itself at the end of the procedure, reducing the chances of infection.
The Capsulotomy Process
The natural lens of the eye is surrounded by a capsule that is very clear and thin. In the process of cataract surgery, the front of the eye capsule is removed in a step known as a "capsulotomy", to assist the surgeon in gaining access to the cataract. It's important that the surgeon takes steps to avoid damaging the capsule during surgery, because it is required to hold an artificial lens in place for the remainder of the patients' life. In traditional surgery the surgeon will use a small needle to create an opening in the capsule, before using forceps to carefully tear the capsule in a circular manner. Studies have proven that the incredibly delicate process or creating a continuous tear up to 6mm in diameter can work much better when the surgeon utilizes a laser. The reason for this is that the surgeon can access a higher degree of reproducibility and accuracy.
Attention to Detail with the IOL
Studies have also suggested that capsulotomies performed using a laser also provide a better environment for centering the new IOL (intraocular lens). Obviously, this is an incredibly important factor, since positioning the IOL properly directly impacts the final visual outcome for the patient in this cataract surgery.
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*Lisa Marie Wark, MBA owns a social media agency and is a business development consultant with a concentration in medical spas and alternative clinics. Currently she is President of Lisa Marie Wark, MBA & Assoc., a business development and social media firm that provides physicians the necessary business tools to help them build or expand their practices into fee for service business models.