Early research findings on laser-based cataract surgery in Europe

There are several methods of removing cataracts and the recent introduction of “femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery” or FLACS has been touted to improve outcome of routine cataract surgery by the companies marketing the lasers and some surgeons. This laser-based method promises more accurately placed incisions and reduction of the energy needed inside the eye to remove the cataract. This is supposed to lead to improved outcome by comparison to the long established method known as “phacoemulsification according to the companies. To access these “benefits”, patients have been asked to pay between $500 and $1000 extra. Up until now, there has been little research directly comparing the two methods. To fill this gap the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons has undertaken a study to compare the outcome directly with numbers large enough to detect even small benefits. Its preliminary conclusion is that there is no extra benefit. This was reported at the recent European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons annual Congress in London.

Surgeons at Ashford Advanced Eye Care have not yet embraced this surgical method, being wary of the extra cost in the absence of evidence of better outcome. They feel that they cannot say clearly to the patient that there is extra benefit to justify the extra cost to the patient and this recent study seems to agree.

EyeWorld News, a trade paper reporting on the meeting has published the following articles:

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