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Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery

The role of femtosecond lasers in cataract surgery is to assist or replace several aspects of the manual cataract surgery. These include the creation of the initial surgical incisions in the cornea, the creation of the capsulotomy, and the initial fragmenting (breaking up) of the lens.

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Access to the cataract is initiated through small incisions (around 2mm in length) made into the peripheral cornea. Known as Clear Corneal Incisions (CCI), these incisions are generally considered to be self-sealing (that is no sutures are required). In comparison to traditional, larger incisions, CCI’s have reduced some potential complications and increase the speed of recovery. The smaller incisions also impact positively on the final visual outcome.

The femtosecond laser can create a near perfect, round opening in the anterior capsule by dissecting it with a spiral laser pattern crossing the anterior capsule. The surgeon is then able to simply remove the tissue. This is just one of several potential benefits of femtosecond laser cataract surgery over the manual procedure.

The ability to create a precise, well-centered capsulotomy helps optimise the surgeon’s ability to achieve the best visual outcome. This may prove to be the greatest potential advantage of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery.

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The femtosecond laser also has the capability to assist the fragmentation (breaking up) of the cataract. The laser applies a number of pulses to the lens in a pre-designed pattern, which then allows the surgeon to use current technology to remove the lens matter. This additional step has been shown to reduce the average time and energy required to break up and remove the lens, making the overall procedure safer and less traumatic to the eye, which may further reduce the risk of postoperative swelling and lead also to a faster visual recovery.

Please note: Cataract patients will require a referral letter to see the Doctor, and will be charged for the initial consultation.