If you are one of the 2 million plus patients that will have cataract surgery this year, your eye surgeon may have offered you laser assisted cataract surgery in addition to traditional cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, lasers can be used to make the incisions and to soften your lens or cataract for easier removal.
Laser assisted cataract surgery is not covered by insurance, and under today’s Medicare guidelines can\ only be offered to patients in certain situations. In order to be eligible for this technology, a patient needs to have a certain amount of astigmatism and/or have an upgraded or ‘premium’ intraocular lens implanted such as an astigmatism-correcting, toric intraocular lens or a multifocal intraocular lens.
While there are no studies yet that conclude whether routine use of the laser improves the safety of cataract surgery, there are situations in addition to its uses for astigmatism correction and premium lens placement, in which this technology can be invaluable. Some examples include advanced/severe cataracts, cataracts that have developed as the result of trauma, and conditions of the cornea or the ‘window pane’ of the eye that make visualization during the procedure more difficult.
You have many options in regard to cataract surgery, which you can discuss further with your eye care specialist.