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Femtosecond-pulse lasers poised to revolutionize cataract surgery

A new generation of femtosecond laser systems has gained approval from the FDA to be used in laser cataract surgery. The new technology offers a cleaner, and more exact cut. Current femtosecond laser systems such as those used in corneal transplants don't penetrate far enough and the new technology now makes deeper penetration into the eye possible. The new image-guided laser system works by first softening the existing cloudy lens. This is done by using shockwaves which cause bubble-like implosions. The lens is then aspirated and then the femtosecond laser is used to perform a refractive capsulotomy. Researchers were very pleased with the perfectly centered laser cuts. The cut portion was able to be removed with forceps without any radial tears? or any other detrimental effects.? It was also noted that the size, shape and reproducibility were all statistically significantly better than the results of the manual capsulotomy. Some disadvantages of the new procedure would be the higher cost and the relatively slow image guidance. In addition, patients must be moved between rooms which adds about five minutes to the procedure. The incisions are created outside the operating room and then the patient is moved into the operating room to finish the procedure. Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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