The FLAC (Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery) Cataract Surgery Operation for Cataract Removal

Reviewed by:

Jason Jacobs, M.D. & Paul Koch, MD

The use of the Femtosecond Laser in assisting with phacoemulsification for Cataract Surgery represents what may be a new technological approach yielding even more predictable and refined results in what is already a remarkably safe and effective Cataract operation. The Femtosecond Laser has been successfully used for a number of years in Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of common vision disorders such as nearsightedness farsightedness and astigmatism. This laser technology has been used as an alternative to manual and mechanical methods of creating a reproducible and precise thin layer of tissue under which another laser places the optical correction.

Cataract removal entails removing the cloudy natural Crystalline Lens of the eye using a technique that is called phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification requires many manual steps and considerable skills of the Cataract Surgeon. The potential advantage of Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery (FLAC) is that it allows the consolidation and conversion of the many skill intensive steps of Cataract removal into a more predictable procedure that benefits from enhanced laser created surgeon controlled precision resulting in even further improved clinical results.

From a surgical perspective, Cataract Surgeons believe that incorporating the Femtosecond Laser into Cataract Surgery will be useful for:

  • Creating "perfect" incisions in terms of size and architecture, which is important in order to have the incision seal properly without the use of stitches and to prevent infection.

  • Creating a Perfectly Centered and Sized "Capsulotomy", which is the "opening" prepared in the front of the Crystalline Lens through which the cloudy lens material is removed.

  • Liquifying, Softening of "Chopping" the Crystalline Lens, in order to allow the cloudy material to be removed.

limbal relaxing incision, LRI

LenSx Lasers, Inc. has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market the first generation of femtosecond laser for Cataract Surgery in the United States. At the moment, LenSx® Femtosecond Laser is approved for creating the "anterior capsulotomy" during Cataract Surgery.  The LensAR™ Femtosecond Laser System* is reported to have the ability to allow the Cataract Surgeon to create precise All Laser Capsulotomies, Clear Corneal Incisions and Limbal Relaxing Incisions and is currently under investigation and not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Another ophthalmic equipment development company, OptiMedica®* is also reported to have a femtosecond laser in development and investigation for Cataract Surgery.

The information that has been provided here is intended to give patients an overview of the use of the femtosecond laser for Cataract Surgery. None of the information provided here is meant to be a substitute or replace your Cataract Surgeon's consultation nor does it replace the need for you to consult with your surgeon about specific details regarding the symptoms, types and development of Cataracts or the Cataract Surgery operation and procedure.

*Caution: Investigational Device.  Limited by United States Federal Law to Investigational Use.

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cataracts, cataract, cataract surgery, cataract patients

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