Leading-Edge Procedure Brings a Laser Focus to Your Eyes

Blade-free laser technology has transformed eye surgery since it debuted in the mid-1990s, routinely correcting astigmatism and near- and farsightedness, among other problems. Now it’s being used to treat cataracts as well, and UT Southwestern is the first in Dallas to offer the advanced, Food and Drug Administration-approved technology for that purpose.

Eyes image

Using a laser is more precise than the manual incision performed in traditional cataract surgery and results in a more accurate insertion of the replacement lens.”

Cataracts occur when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy. They are especially common in people age 65 and older, although they can form at any age.

In blade-free, image-guided, laser-assisted cataract surgery, UTSW ophthalmologists use the laser and its computer to perform some of the most critical stages of the operation, including the initial incision to remove the cataract itself and a second one to insert a new artificial lens.

“Using a laser is more precise than the manual incision performed in traditional cataract surgery and results in a more accurate insertion of the replacement lens,” says James McCulley, M.D., Chair of Ophthalmology.

"Thanks to surgical devices like the laser and improvements in replacement-lens design, cataract patients are experiencing better outcomes and benefiting from astigmatism and presbyopia correction," Dr. McCulley says. "A safe and reliable procedure is now even better."

Putting the Brakes on Cataracts

While you can’t actually prevent cataracts, following these tips can help slow their onset:

  • Schedule regular eye exams.
  • Wear sunglasses with a UV filter or a hat to shield your eyes from the sun, and protective eyewear when playing sports or working with dangerous machinery or chemicals.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and fish. They all contain vitamins and minerals that may help the eyes age more slowly.
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes and thyroid disease may raise your chances of developing cataracts, so tell your doctor about these and other health problems.

To schedule an appointment with a UTSW ophthalmologist, call 214-645-8300.