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Lasers have been in use in ophthalmic surgery for decades. Refractive surgery brought new heights to ophthalmic care with the use of femtosecond lasers such as IntraLase. New dimensions were added to what could be offered to our patients such as IntraLase Enabled Keratoplasty (Laser Corneal Transplant Surgery).
LASIK and refractive surgery have now converged onto the world of cataract surgery. We are now using the same femtosecond laser (as used in IntraLase) to catapult our cataract surgery to newer levels of precision.
The femtosecond laser such as LenSx is used in cataract surgery to provide advanced anterior segment imaging using optical coherence tomography. This imaging capability will allow for precise placement of the following three types of incisions:
- Precise corneal wound incisions "Blade Free Cataract Surgery" -- this is helpful in a) perfect wound structure with reduced wound leakage and thereby potentially reducing infections and other complications b) reduced surgical wound induced astigmatism.
- Precise Incisions in the cataract lens -- This will make a perfect "capsulorrhexis" opening of the cataract which is one of the most crucial steps in cataract surgery, and cut the lens in fragments using the laser and thereby reducing the need for ultrasound energy to break the lens (which may cause damage to the endothelial cells lining the inside of the cornea).
- Precise corneal incisions for corrections of astigmatism -- in the past we as ophthalmic surgeons have never had such level of precision to correct 0.5 D or 0.75 D of astigmatism. With the femtosecond laser, we are now able to treat with such level of accuracy ... this can make the difference between good vision and great vision for some.
Please watch this video: LenSx vs. Standard Cataract Surgery Video
Use of the femtosecond lasers is not new to Dr. Ash, nor is anterior segment imaging using optical coherence tomography. Dr. Ash has been using the femtosecond laser for LASIK surgery exclusively since June 2007, and was the first surgeon in northern California to perform laser corneal transplant surgery. The Anterior Segment OCT has been also been a passion of Dr. Ash and he has served as a consultant to Carl Zeiss Meditec on the development and clinical trials of the Anterior Segment OCT systems. Dr. Ash's skills in femtosecond laser LASIK surgery and Anterior Segment OCT are now being implemented in delivering femtosecond laser cataract surgery as the first in Stanislaus and Merced Counties.