The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital is adding a new option for removing cataracts with a refractive cataract laser called the LenSx®, by Alcon. The LenSx® refractive cataract laser system is an advanced technology that provides unmatched precision and computer control, allowing surgeons to customize cataract surgery for each patient.
A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Cataracts are common, especially in persons 60 years and older. The usual treatment is surgery that removes the old, clouded lens and replaces it with a new, artificial lens that improves vision in the vast majority of cases.
Laser surgery is a bladeless, computer-controlled procedure that is image guided.
“LenSx® uses sophisticated optical coherence tomography imaging to precisely determine the parameters of the surgery,” said Brian Spraberry, CEO of the Callahan Eye Hospital. “This technology adds a new level of computer-guided laser precision for the removal of cataracts and the correction of astigmatism.”
Spraberry says Callahan Eye Hospital will have 16 eye surgeons certified on the device.
“This really expands the availability of laser technology for cataract surgery in this community,” he said. “It provides new options for patients who will benefit from the precision of this system.”
The laser system uses a range of highly advanced technologies to capture high resolution images that map the size, depth and curvature of the cornea and other key features of the eye. The measurements provided by these images are used to plan and perform the surgery to exacting specifications not attainable with traditional surgery.
Cataracts are mostly a function of aging. Although they can occur in middle-age, they are more common in older persons. The National Eye Institute (NEI) says that by age 80, half of all Americans have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
The lens of the eye lies behind the iris and pupil and functions much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina in the back of the eye. It is made up of water and proteins. During aging, the proteins can clump together, clouding an area of the lens. Removing the old lens and inserting an artificial lens is the only effective treatment for advanced cataracts.
Exposure to sunlight and smoking are thought to be risk factors for cataracts. The NEI recommends wearing sunglasses and hats with a brim when outdoors, eating a healthy diet high in antioxidants and not smoking to reduce or delay the risk. Persons age 60 years and older should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years.
Symptoms of cataracts include cloudy vision, faded colors, glare, poor night vision and double vision.
The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital will have the LenSx® laser on-line on April 9, 2013. For more information, visit Callahan Eye Hospital at uabmedicine.org/seeclearly.