The Pros and Cons of Cataract Laser Surgery

If your doctor has recommended you have cataract surgery done, you have an important decision to make. You can decide to have traditional cataract surgery done by hand or cataract laser surgery. There are pros and cons to both methods, and learning about them will help you make an informed decision as to which is best for you. 


  • Higher Cost

If you are on a tighter budget, the cost of the surgery may impact your decision to have laser cataract surgery or traditional cataract surgery. One of the downsides to laser surgery is that it is more costly than traditional cataract surgery. This is because the laser machine is expensive to purchase and maintain, and this additional cost is passed along to patients. And while cataract surgery is traditionally covered by medical insurance providers, some companies will not cover the increased cost of having cataract laser surgery. If you elect to have the more expensive procedure done, your insurance may cover the standard amount for traditional surgery and leave it up to you to cover the difference in cost.  

  • Takes Longer in the Operating Room

The second downside to cataract laser surgery is that this procedure is actually a bit longer than traditional cataract surgery. A recent study found that laser surgery could take about 11 to 13 minutes longer than traditional cataract surgery, meaning you'll be in the operating room longer. However, it is important to point out that, regardless, it is still a relatively fast procedure. A traditional cataract surgery will take anywhere from 6 to 15 minutes to complete. However, if you are anxious to get in and out of the operating room very quikcly, laser surgery is not the faster choice. Be aware that you will still need to be at the surgery center for a few hours either way.


  • More Accurate

One of the biggest advantages to having cataract surgery done with a laser is that it is more accurate. Studies have shown that a laser is 10 times more accurate than a surgeon's hand at creating the circular opening that removes the cataract. This means that there is less risk involved with cuts and incisions to the eye and reduces the risk that something could go wrong, making the procedure more predictable and safer.

  • Reduces the Risk of Infection

The second benefit to cataract laser surgery is that it has a lower risk of infection than traditional cataract surgery. The laser allows a surgeon to pinpoint the location and depth at which the new lens is placed into the eye. Ideally, a surgeon would like for the incision to be self-sealing at the end of the procedure, regardless of whether the procedure is done with a laser or manually. This greatly reduces the risk of infection by keeping bacteria out of the eye. However, if the procedure is done by hand, there is a greater chance that the incision will not self-seal, exposing you to bacteria and possible infection. Due to the accuracy of the laser, there is a higher chance the eye will self-seal after the procedure, helping to keep you infection free.

  • Reduces the Risk of Capsule Breakage

The last benefit to cataract laser surgery is that there is less risk of capsule breakage with a laser. The capsule is what holds the IOL (intraocular lens) inside your eye, allowing you to see properly after cataract surgery. If the capsule breaks or becomes distorted, your vision may be blurry. Unfortunately, the capsule is extremely tiny and thin. It is hard for the human hand to hold steady enough to implant this. A laser can perform the task better, decreasing the chances of it breaking.

If your vision is blurry due to cataracts, your doctor may recommend cataract surgery. This removes your damaged cataracts and replaces them with lenses that allow you to see clearly. However, you will have to decide whether to have laser surgery or surgery done by hand. Taking the time to educate yourself on the pros and cons of both surgery types will allow you to make an educated decision as to which is best for you. To learn more, contact a representative from an establishment like Country Hills Eye Center.