Advances in cataract surgery have made surgery safer, more precise, more comfortable, and provided better and faster vision recovery than traditional techniques. Coastal Eye Specialists has long been at the forefront of these advances, and has been recognized as the leader in our community in introducing and popularizing many of the latest surgical techniques, equipment, and lenses that are now considered state-of-the art. Coastal Eye’s Medical Director, W. Lee Wan, MD, is also a respected and popular teacher of modern cataract surgery to colleagues as well as ophthalmologists-in-training at USC and globally.
Advanced cataract surgery uses a technique known as phacoemulsification, in which a small ultrasonic probe is used to liquefy and aspirate the cataract. This demanding, technically sophisticated technique allows “minimally-invasive” cataract removal, which provides a greater margin of safety, faster healing, less distortion of the eye, and quicker visual recovery. Today, phacoemulsification has become the standard cataract removal method for most cataract surgeons. Modern foldable intraocular lens (IOL) implants are made of soft, flexible materials (silicone, acrylic, or collagen) that can be inserted through tiny, self sealing incisions. Stitches are usually not required, and these micro-incisions reduce the risk of bleeding, scarring, and irritation, and allow a more rapid return to normal activities and good vision.
More recently, expensive, programmable lasers known as femto lasers have been applied to assist in certain steps of cataract surgery. While helpful in certain specific situations, the advantages of femto lasers in cataract surgery remain unproven, and it unclear whether they justify the added expense and complexity they add to advanced cataract surgery. Although Dr. Wan uses the femto laser in selected cases, he does not rely on it for most routine cataract surgeries.