Refractive Laser Cataract Surgery at LCC

Cataracts are very common. Fortunately they are treatable. Almost 2 million cataract surgeries are performed in North America every year.

When a cataract reduces your vision to the point that you can't do things you like to do (such as reading, driving, working on the computer), it is probably time to have the lens removed. Surgery is the only effective way to remove the cloudy lens.

Cataract surgery is performed using freezing drops and light sedation (you will feel calm and relaxed, without needing general anesthesia). The surgery is usually painless.

The cataract is broken up using ultrasound or laser, with the aid of a special microscope. The clear bag that holds your cataract, is the same bag that will hold the clear implant. Your surgeon will discuss the implant options with you.

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Laser Cataract Surgery FAQ

Once my cataract is fixed, will it ever come back?

No, it will never come back.

What is an Excimer Laser Enhancement?

The excimer laser reshapes the cornea to correct any remaining distance glasses prescription. If you have had refractive cataract surgery at LCC, this special service is provided at no extra charge.

I have had my cataract fixed. Why do I now need a YAG laser treatment?

The modern way of doing cataract surgery is to place the implant inside the clear bag that used to hold the cataract (this is a normal part of your eye). With time, this bag may become hazy. Also, some types of cataracts leave a haze on this bag at the time of surgery. The laser clears the haze to make sure you have the best possible vision. The haze does not return. You will need a driver for this appointment, as dilating drops will be used for the procedure.

There are no physical restrictions before or after the laser. It takes 30 seconds to 1 minute to do, and is painless.

I have had cataract surgery, when can I resume normal activities?

The day after surgery, it is fine to bend over, and to wash your hair. After 1 week there are no physical restrictions.

With regard to driving, wait until your surgeon says you may do so (most of the time this is 1 week after surgery).

If I have a problem after hours, or on the weekend, where do I go?

Go to your nearest emergency dept.

There is an ophthalmologist on call 24hrs a day every day.

What are the visual requirements for driving?

For a G class license (driving a car) in Ontario, one must see 20/50 or better with both eyes open, and have a horizontal visual field of at least 120 degrees with both eyes open.

What is LCC Cataract Surgery After Care Procedure?

You will leave LCC with a clear plastic shield over your operated eye. The following morning, you will remove the shield and throw it away.

Normal activities are OK the day after surgery (bending over, walking, taking a shower).

No vigorous activities for 1 week (sports, lifting more than 20 lbs, etc.).

Eye drops will be used for about 6 weeks (tapering off slowly).

What is the Cataract surgery recovery time?

Generally, recovery time from cataract surgery is 1 week (patients usually take 1 week off work, to concentrate on getting the drops in properly). After 1 week there are no physical restrictions.

Is modern cataract surgery done with laser?

Cataract surgery can be done 2 ways; with Ultrasound (traditional way), or with Laser (new femtosecond laser technology). Dr. Lane will examine your eyes, and go over your options, based on what is best for your eyes. Watch a video explaining traditional vs. Laser cataract surgery.

Dr. Lane will examine your eyes and discuss with you whether or not you are a good candidate for this type of laser surgery.

What Are Cataract Surgery Side Effects?

Modern cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures performed, with a low complication rate; however all surgeries have possible complications. The main possible complications that can affect vision are:

  1. Swelling of the cornea (clear window of the eye). If this does not clear with drops, a second surgery to replace the swollen cornea may be required.
  2. Dropping a piece of the cataract (if the bag holding the cataract is broken). This requires a second operation to remove pieces from the back of the eye.
  3. Infection inside the eye. Requires an injection of antibiotics or surgery.
  4. Swelling in the retina. Requires eye drops for a few extra weeks.

If you have any concerns about side effects, please feel free to ask.

How can I make an appointment for surgery at LCC?

Your optometrist needs to fax a referral to Dr. Lane’s office at (705) 320-8082.

Dr. Lane’s office will then contact your optometrist with an appointment date and time.

Can both eyes be fixed the same day?

No, cataract surgeries are booked separately, 1 week apart. This allows time for the first eye to heal, and also permits the surgeon to adjust the implant power for the second eye, if needed.

How much does laser cataract surgery cost?

The cost of refractive cataract surgery varies (from $1700-$4100 per eye) depending on which implant is used, and which refractive services are chosen (correction of astigmatism, presbyopia, etc….).

How is laser cataract surgery performed?

Freezing drops are used to numb the eye. A gentle soft plastic ring is placed in the surface of the eye, which attaches to the laser machine. The laser procedure takes about 5 minutes. The laser makes a perfectly circular opening in the bag holding the cataract, and then fragments the cataract into small pieces. Finally, the laser makes small incisions in the cornea to correct for small amounts of astigmatism. No IV anesthetic is required for this part of the surgery.

Is laser cataract surgery better?

Laser cataract surgery is more gentle to the eye, and allows for the cataract to be removed using less energy. This is less traumatic to the cornea (especially for small eyes, and eyes with dense cataracts). Furthermore, the opening of the capsular bag that holds the cataract is done with a laser more accurately than by hand, which allows for a more effective implant position long term.

How long does it take to recover from laser cataract surgery?

1 week

Is laser cataract surgery safer?

Laser cataract surgery will deliver the same exact precision consistently. The risks of traditional surgery depend more heavily on surgeon experience.

Can you drive after YAG laser treatment?

No, your eye(s) will need to be dilated, and the vision will be blurry for 1 day. It is best to come with a driver.

How much does YAG laser cost?

Nothing, as this is an OHIP covered service.

How long does YAG laser take?

It takes 30mins for dilating drops to work, and about 1-2 minutes to do the actual laser. There are no restrictions afterwards.

Does YAG laser hurt?

No.

Is YAG laser capsulotomy covered by insurance?

It is a fully covered service by OHIP.

Can YAG laser be repeated?

No. Generally this only needs to be once ever.

Does cataract surgery last a lifetime?

Yes.

Can cataracts grow back?

No.

Do floaters go away after cataract surgery?

No, floaters have nothing to do with the cataract. The cataract is at the front of the eye, and the floaters are at the back of the eye.

Is laser cataract surgery painful?

No. You may feel some mild pressure, but should not feel pain.

What is the difference between laser cataract surgery and regular cataract surgery?

Laser cataract surgery uses a femtosecond laser to perform some of the more precise parts of surgery automatically. This is kinder to the eye (the cornea), as less energy is used. With traditional ultrasound surgery, these parts of the operation are performed manually.

Does Medicare pay for laser cataract surgery?

Individual insurance plans tend to vary a great deal. Generally, most insurance companies do not cover the majority of non-insured refractive expenses, as there is a standard fully covered option available at the hospital.

What is a YAG Laser?

A YAG laser is a special laser sometimes used after cataract surgery. If you think of a cataract like a grape, the modern way of doing cataract surgery is to remove the "inside of the grape", and leave the empty skin of the grape behind. This "empty skin of the grape" (called the lens capsule) is what the intraocular lens implant sits inside. With time, this lens capsule, or "skin of the grape" can become cloudy. The YAG laser polishes the back of this cloudy lens capsule bag to improve vision. It is done quickly an office setting, and is painless. Typically it never needs to be repeated.

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