Cataract Surgery

FLACS vs Traditional Cataract Surgery

In the year 2020, lasers are used for a variety of things. From making sure your shelves are level, to measuring the gravitational waves of black holes, laser technology is spreading. Lasers are used in business and commerce, archeology, military, manufacturing, and communication. The medical field is no exception. In the world of ophthalmology, the popularity of Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (FLACS) has been growing over the past few years. Whenever something new comes into the marketplace, our ophthalmologists at Riverside EyeCare Professionals—Michael Sumsion, MD and Sean Sumsion, MD—examine whether the new procedure, equipment, or product would benefit those who pass through the doors at Riverside.

FLACS uses a laser to create an incision in the cornea, open the cataract membrane or capsules, and then to soften the cataract prior to removal. Traditional cataract surgery uses a blade to create an incision in the cornea and a process of using ultrasonic energy (sound waves) to soften and remove the cataract. Outside of the way the incision is made and the cataract softened, both avenues require mechanical removal of the lens. The question arises – does FLACS offer any additional benefits to patients over traditional cataract surgery?

Before discussing what the research has shown, let’s talk about that word – benefits. In the medical field, and in much of the research regarding FLACS, the benefits fall into three general categories: safety, visual results, and time.

  • Safety – potential unintended complications that may happen. There is a certain level of risk in every surgery, but cataract surgery has long been one of the most successful and common surgeries performed in the United States. As far as surgeries go, cataract surgery is low on the risk spectrum.
  • Visual results – the ability for patients to reach a target level of vision. With advancing technologies of lens options, patient satisfaction is at an all-time high.
  • Time – Researchers look into whether new technologies save time for the surgeon during surgery or reduce the recovery time for patients following surgery.

What does the research say? The answer may surprise you.

Over these three areas – safety, visual results, and time – none of the studies performed have shown statistically significant benefits from laser-assisted vs traditional cataract surgery. As the American Academy of Ophthalmology reinforces, in the midst of the FLACS vs traditional debate, “Your outcome depends in large part on the skill and experience of your surgeon.”

New technology should have a purpose – a better outcome, a safer procedure, less time in surgery or recovering afterward. With the understanding that Drs. Michael and Sean Sumsion offer laser-assisted cataract surgery, the technology, while cool and interesting, is rather unnecessary, mostly serving as a way to increase patient’s cost. While surgeons cannot charge you simply for using this technology, many attempt to cover their costs by bundling other premium services. Often buzz words are used to market FLACS as ‘more accurate’, ‘less complex’, or with the promise of ‘improved outcomes’. While it may look catchy in advertisements, the medical science simply does not back those claims.
When looking for a surgeon for your cataract surgery, there is something more important than the tools used – the hands that hold them.

For more information about cataract surgery performed by our experienced board-certified ophthalmologists, contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals today!

Do I Have Cataracts?

Cataracts are a progressive condition that typically develops along with one or more types of vision impairment. When left untreated, cataracts can worsen, significantly impede vision, and negatively affect quality-of-life. Recognizing the early symptoms of cataracts can help lead to a prompt diagnosis and effective treatment.

You may have cataracts if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Progressive loss of vision
  • Increasingly poor night vision
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Glares or haloes
  • Double vision
  • Faded or yellow-tinted colors
  • Visible white or cloudy areas over the pupil

If you suspect that you may have cataracts, please contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals and promptly schedule an appointment with one of our experienced ophthalmologists. Cataracts are an extremely common eye condition that affects over half of all Americans by the age of 80. Thankfully, with state-of-the-art cataract surgery and placement of a intraocular lens implant (IOL), you can achieve clearer vision and prevent the advanced stages of cataracts that may lead to serious eye damage or blindness. Our eye surgeons are experienced in the latest cataract surgery techniques and innovative IOLs and look forward to having the opportunity to restore your eyesight and active lifestyle.

If you have more questions, we encourage you to read through our answers to common Cataract FAQs or schedule an exam.

June is Cataract Awareness Month—Become Informed!

Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness worldwide, and they can affect individuals at any age. Fortunately, cataracts can often be treated with a reliable surgical method that routinely provides excellent results. The success rate for cataract surgery is approximately 95%, and the cost of the procedure is typically covered either partially or in full by medical insurance (though specific plans may vary).

Prevent Blindness®, a non-profit dedicated to educating Americans about vision problems and the importance of eye care, has named the month of June “Cataract Awareness Month.” The goal of Cataract Awareness Month is to spread information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of cataracts, as well as encourage men and women to connect with experienced Ophthalmologists—like Michael Sumsion, MD and Sean Sumsion, MD—for quality eye care.

To learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery, we invite you to explore our informative website. If you are experiencing any of the following cataract symptoms, it may be beneficial to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors:

  • Difficult night vision
  • Gradual vision loss
  • Blurry or clouded vision
  • Double vision
  • White patches covering your pupil
  • Faded or yellowing color vision
  • Glare or halos

A routine eye exam and/or specialized testing can help determine the cause of your vision issues. If you are diagnosed with cataracts, our eye surgeons can educate you about treatment options and explain the cataract surgery process. To schedule an appointment, please contact Riverside EyeCare today.

2801 Park Marina Drive
Redding, CA 96001
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Call: 530-244-2273

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