At some point later in your life, you may be diagnosed with cataracts, a clouding of your eyes' natural lenses that can greatly impair your vision, or in the worst cases, make your go blind. Traditional cataract surgery does a fine job of correcting this issue, but an even better method has appeared in recent years, laser cataract surgery. If your ophthalmologist recommends cataract surgery, you need to decide if the laser method is the way for you to go.
Traditional surgery is done on an outpatient basis and does not require general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small cut in the side of your eye and use a probe that emits ultrasound waves to shatter your original lens. The pieces of the old lenses are removed, and permanent, corrective lenses are inserted into your eyes. Although this procedure may sound complicated, it takes only a few minutes and usually involves little recovery time. You will be prescribed a variety of eye drops for several weeks that fight infection and swelling. The results are generally quite good, and some people end up seeing better than they ever have.
Your ophthalmologist will offer you the opportunity to have a laser procedure instead of the traditional surgery. The advantages of laser surgery are clear: this procedure allows your physician to be more precise and accurate. You will escape the heat buildup that the ultrasound probe can cause, sometimes leading to an incision burn. Your doctor is better able to protect the capsule that must hold the lens in place. Also, the correction by laser sometimes results in better vision and fewer complications.
Since the laser seems to have clear advantages over the traditional operation, you may wonder why people opt for the traditional method. The answer is simply cost. The laser procedure is more expensive, and insurance companies and Medicare do not consider these advantages to be "medically necessary." As a result, they will probably only cover the cost of traditional surgery, meaning you are on the hook for the additional cost. Since not everyone can afford this difference, many still opt for the traditional method. Luckily, the traditional method generally offers satisfactory results.
If you can afford to have laser cataract surgery, you should consider it simply because it is easier on the eyes and a bit more effective. If you cannot afford the difference, do not worry. You should still have a good result.
For more information, contact The Eye Center or a similar location.