End in sight for old-fashioned cataract removal surgery
End in sight for old-fashioned cataract removal surgery
A new laser treatment that actually dissolves cataracts in the eye has been introduced into the UK by one of the country’s top eye hospitals. The London Eye Hospital (www.londoneyehospital.com) on Harley Street in London is first in the UK to introduce the FemtoSecond laser treatment for the removal of cataracts or clear lens extraction, revolutionising cataract surgery, with Wolverhampton resident one of the first to undertake the treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, cataracts have not been treated with laser surgery in the UK before. The current technique for cataract surgery or clear lens extraction involves an incision with a blade of approximately 3mm by the surgeon who also creates an opening into the lens and then breaks up the cataract using high frequency ultrasound, a process known as phacoemulsification. This procedure has been refined over the last 25 years and offers a safe and effective but highly invasive option.
By comparison, the next generation of cataract surgery would not look out of place in a science fiction movie. The FemtoSecond cataract laser creates a 3-dimensional model of the eye at close to a micron level of accuracy, in real-time. Controlled by a sophisticated surgeon-guided computer, the laser then dissolves the lens or cataract using perfect precision and also creates the incision that could be as small as a pin-prick.
Bobby Qureshi, Consultant Opthalmic Surgeon and Medical Director at The London Eye Hospital - and currently the only surgeon able to offer the laser treatment - says this new technique will change cataract surgery forever: “The FemtoSecond laser has been specially designed to bring an extraordinary level of accuracy and reproducibility to refractive cataract surgery, making this the single greatest breakthrough in cataract and lens extraction surgery in nearly 30 years. No matter how accurate manual procedures may have seemed in the past, they simply cannot compete with the accuracy and precision that is now possible with laser cataract removal, which means that this surgery is now safer than ever before.”
Because the high-tech laser has been designed specifically for refractive cataract surgery, this new procedure will bring the power of image-guided computer precision to Mr Qureshi and his team. As a result, treatments can be individually tailored to each patient’s eyes and deliver a remarkable degree of accuracy. In addition, because the equipment features a customisable 3D surgical platform, it makes it much easier to visualise, customise and perform many of the most challenging steps of cataract surgery.
This new approach to cataract surgery also reduces the risk of complications associated with older techniques such as damage to the fine membrane surrounding the lens and - as the incision is so small – reduces the risk of infection. As such, this new procedure represents a huge increase in safety and reduces the risks of cataract surgery even further.
Mr Bobby Qureshi became the first UK surgeon to use a FemtoSecond laser for cataract surgery at the London Eye Hospital on Harley Street at the start of December 2011 Mr Qureshi says the new technique will change people’s lives:
“Cataracts affect over 60% of people over the age of 60, and quite a few younger patients as well. In fact, the condition is so common that almost everyone will develop a cataract if they live long enough. For years, many people have accepted cataracts as an unavoidable part of getting older, but that doesn’t now need to be the case. With this new breakthrough in laser refractive surgery, we can now offer a safe and effective alternative to cataract removal in the UK.”
Susan Morgan, 52, from Weybridge in Surrey, recently had a FemtoLaser cataract extraction and implantation of light adjustable lens in her left eye:
“I’ve never had an ordinary cataract operation to compare it to but the laser treatment was fantastic. I was under it for a very short time and it all seemed very easy. I didn’t feel any pain during the procedure or afterwards – in fact I didn’t need a single painkiller and just had a glass of champagne instead!
“Recovery has been very straightforward and my sight is now so much better. I’ve worn contact lenses since I was 16 and in the last few years I’ve had to wear reading glasses as well. I also had the start of a cataract but I’ll never need to have another operation on it or wear any sort of glasses or contacts again.
“Mr Qureshi was fantastic and explained everything so I felt very comfortable and safe. The treatment has had a huge impact already and really will be life changing.”
Suzanne Rogers, 58, from Wolverhampton, recently had a FemtoLaser lens extraction and implantation of a light adjustable lens in her right eye:
“It’s a very good experience all round for me. It was completely painless, which is excellent! To be honest I didn’t know what to expect but right from going in and all through the treatment I felt very at ease. The laser itself is great – you don’t feel anything and it’s over very quickly and then Mr Qureshi takes over to put the lens into the eye. I had no pain afterwards, either.
My sight is much improved and it’s wonderful to be able to see everything so clearly. Mr Qureshi tells me it will continue to improve, especially after I’ve had further adjustments in a few weeks with the adjustable implants. It’s certainly made a huge difference to my life already.”
The London Eye Hospital has opened a purpose-built operating suite incorporating the first installation of the FemtoSecond cataract laser. The hospital is also the only clinic in the world to offer patients a choice between several different machines including the Technolas Perfect Vision. VICTUS and the Alcon LenSx FemtoSecond cataract lasers, meaning specialists can use the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
Notes for editors
Broadcast media will be able to film the surgery and interview surgeon/patients.
Photography and case studies available from Chazbrooks Communications
About the London Eye Hospital
The London Eye Hospital brings together leading Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeons to create a centre of excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of all eye conditions to the highest standard. All surgery is carried out at the London Eye Hospital, which is possibly the most advanced surgical centre in the world and registered with the Care Quality Commission. All London Eye Hospital surgeons hold NHS Consultant posts and are acclaimed experts in their specialist area with an international reputation. They are also registered with all the well-known medical insurance companies such as AXA, Bupa, Norwich Union, Standard Life and others.
The London Eye Hospital is committed to providing the highest level of eyecare without compromise. Patients will have the opportunity to discuss all treatment options including the latest technology and surgical techniques that are currently not available on the NHS, many of which have been pioneered by London Eye Hospital surgeons.
London Eye Hospital Contact:
Mr M A Qureshi
Tel: 0800 612 2021
Chaz Brooks, Chazbrooks Communications, Tel: +44 (0)1483 537 890