After learning she needed cataract surgery for her weakening
She's glad she did. Gordon received a new type of laser surgery on both eyes rather than the traditional blade method at the University of Illinois Hospital and Sciences System. The university is one of the first academic medical centers in the Midwest to offer the LenSx Laser surgery system by
"It was almost no recovery and in terms of side effects there was nothing," said Gordon, of Chicago. "By the next day in both cases, everything was much clearer and brighter."
That's the result Dr. Jose de la Cruz, who performed the surgery, said he expected.
"There have been no studies yet but in our surgeries we noticed a quicker recovery as far as vision and limited
The procedure is used to break up the cataract, which is then removed using ultrasound, and an intraocular lenses implanted, sometimes multifocal ones. LenSx had already been used in refractive surgery to create a thin flap in the lens and correct eyesight. The University of Illinois is also using the new system for cataracts to train residents.
Having a cataract is almost "like seeing through a stained glass," de la Cruz said about the clouding of the lens, which affects eyesight. According to the
The new femtosecond laser technology gives a real-time image of the eye, allowing the surgeon the exact required depth "to the micron" for the incision, de la Cruz said. A femtosecond is one-quadrillionth of a second and offers an "extremely short burst of energy." De la Cruz and his team have performed about 80 surgeries since earlier this year and expect to hit the 150 mark this fall.
Not everyone is a good candidate for the surgery, which is not used on adults who have had prior cataract surgery or on children.
During the procedure, the laser helps make a "perfect circular hole so we can enter in, cut the lens to pieces to remove it from the sac," de la Cruz said. During traditional cataract surgery, a manual blade is used for the procedure. An anesthetic is used to numb the nerves in and around the eye in both cases.
"There is less energy time inside the eye, less inflammation inside the eye and it limits the amount of complications that can happen, even in training", de la Cruz said of the laser method, adding it also offers more stability in implanting intraocular lenses.
The new method could soon catch on at other hospitals as well, with
Dr. Surendra Basti, associate professor of ophthalmology at Northwestern, said it was a "revelation" how well the laser worked at opening the cataract and breaking it into pieces. Basti traveled to the
"I think the main advantage of the laser (over current cataract surgery techniques) is the precision and probably a little more safety," Basti said, noting less ultrasound is needed if the cataract is first "softened by the laser."
Basti also said the method helps ensure the patient is more likely to obtain "eyeglass freedom."