The idea of having cataract surgery can be scary. Knowing that a pointy instrument will be inserted into the delicate surface of your eye can be a deal breaker. But, there is an innovative procedure that is making this type of surgery less evasive and more precise and is being done locally.
Dr. Benjamin Chun at the Cataract and Laser institute of Pennsylvania is the first doctor in the city of Pittsburgh doing laser assisted cataract surgery. He works out of offices on the North Side, South Side, in Oakland and White Oak. Prior to using the laser, Dr. Chun did the surgery free hand using a mini knife. “I would use the knife to get into the cornea, the clear part of the eye, then use an ultrasound machine to break-up and suck up the pieces of the cataract,” explains Chun. Once that was complete, an artificial lens would be inserted.
Chun has replaced the mini knife with the laser, making the process more gentile and more customized to each individual patient. The ultrasound machine is still utilized to break up the cataract. The incision created by the laser, makes inserting the new lens more accurate. Kerri Morton, Outreach Manager, says there are other benefits to this type of surgery. “We find that there is a faster recovery time and less need for glasses following the operation.”
The surgery from start to finish takes less than 20 minutes. The preparation beforehand, numbing the eye, is what takes the most time. According to Morton, cataract surgery is the most performed surgery done in the United States. “Patients cannot control whether or not they get cataracts but it is good that they now have a new option to consider to deal with the problem.”