Dr Chua Wei Han
Cataract surgery is now made even safer and more predictable with a technique using laser.
Cataract surgery is the most common medical procedure with over 30,000 cases performed in Singapore last year. Even before the introduction of this technology using laser, it is a safe procedure with a high success rate of well above 90%.
This newer method of cataract surgery makes cataract surgery even safer. The laser system provides real-time 3D views of the eye, allowing surgeons to adjust the parameters before and during the procedure.
Dr Chua Wei Han, ophthalmologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital explains that the traditional technique of using ultrasound (phacoemulsification), although safe, is a technically demanding procedure which heavily relies on the skill of the surgeon. And complications can happen.
"The advanced technology enables the surgeon to perform several of the more critical steps of the surgery using laser technology adapted from bladeless LASIK," Dr Chua elaborated.
He explains that the laser system available in Mount Elizabeth Hospital makes the surgery bladeless. It uses laser to make the corneal incision which allows for greater control over the shape and size of the incision. And it is capable of consistently producing well-centred and optimally-sized openings of the capsule of the natural lens to allow the removal of the cataract lens and replacement with an artificial lens implant. Also, with the assistance of the laser, less ultrasound energy is required to break up the lens. Furthermore, it is better able to accurately position the lens implant for a potentially better visual outcome for the patient.
According to Dr Chua, research has shown that with this laser system, the cataract incisions are less prone to wound leak. This reduces the risk of infection.
"Overall, this technique that is laser-controlled by the surgeon has been reported to be safer and more precise," states Dr Chua.
This cataract surgery technique using laser can be performed for most patients who are cooperative and have pupils that dilate well. However, it may be indicated especially for particularly complicated cases, such as when the cataract is advanced, when the cornea is weak or when the lens is unstable.