New developments in the field of laser eye treatment have revealed that the success of using laser for cataract removal can be enhanced through latest approaches. Use of FDA approved femtosecond laser can bring a revolution in the field of eye surgery. Although FDA has been approved the treatment, its practice in the United States is very limited.
A number of discussions and brain storming session were held regarding this subject during the 115th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Research. Two researches was presented by Mark Packer and William W. Culbertson both MDs, and from Oregon Health and Sciences University and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami School of Medicine respectively. Both of them reported different studies that were focused on the same issue.
These two studies presented the use of laser in two different ways in treatment of cataract of the eye. While the study carried out by Dr. Culbertson’s team was focused on the results of femtosecond laser treatment for cataract before going into surgery, Dr. Packer’s research was revealed that laser protects endothelial cells of the cornea. The study revealed that this kind of pre-treatment can have an impact on the degree of ultrasound energy required for surgery. Since surgeons try and use the lowest amount of ultrasound energy during surgery, the femtosecond laser can be a useful accessory in surgery. High amounts of ultrasound energy can cause damage to the cornea and result in lower rates of recovery.
For the research, 29 patients with cataract were treated for cataract in one eye using the normal procedure and the other eye was treated with femtosecond laser before undergoing surgery. It was found that in the eye where femtosecond laser was used, the requirement of ultrasound energy fell by 45%. The surgery was easier to perform by 45%, when compared to ease of operating without laser. Dr. Culbertson said that although the procedure was very effective for normal cataracts, their use in advanced cataract cases has to be studied.
The other research by a team led by Dr. Packer revealed that laser treatments are safe on the cornea. One of the standard ways used to evaluate safety of eye surgery is to study the damage caused to Corneal Endothelial cells. These cells are helpful in providing clarity of vision. By using laser fragmenting, doctors can reduce damage. Study was conducted on 225 patients. For every cell of endothelial damaged in the process of treatment using laser, seven cells were damaged when normal procedure was used.