New laser surgery helps to cure cataracts

Mike Musiker, 80, was recently diagnosed with a cataract in both of his eyes.

“I was saying to my golfing friends, ‘Where’d the ball go?’” Musiker said.  “The depth, I couldn't see that far.”

Cataracts affect more than 20 million Americans, and it is on the rise.  As baby boomers age, it is estimated that by 2020, more than 30 million will have the condition.

“A cataract is a clouding of a person's natural lens inside their eye, and when the lens becomes cloudy the window into the eye becomes cloudy and the patient loses vision,” said Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, an ophthalmologist at Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island.

If untreated, cataracts can cause a person to lose all vision.  But surgery can be done to have the cataracts removed and return eyesight to the patient. Standard cataract surgery requires ophthalmologists to cut into the eye with a blade and then remove the affected lens with an ultrasound device.

But now there’s an even more efficient surgical option – laser surgery.

“Laser cataract surgery involves using a special device called a femtosecond laser that makes the incision into the eye, opens up the lens, then divides the lens into small quadrants,” Donnenfeld said. “It takes care of the major steps of cataract surgery that were before performed manually and are now performed with the precision of a laser.”

Musiker had laser cataract surgery this July and said he is now seeing better than ever.