Mass. Eye and Ear Brings Cutting-edge Femtosecond Laser Technology to Boston-area Patients

November 13, 2014

Another option for cataract surgery

Contact: Mary Leach

BOSTON, MASS. (Nov. 13, 2014) -- Patients choosing cataract surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear may now elect to have laser-assisted cataract surgery with the femtosecond LensSx® Laser. The hospital is one of the few in New England to offer the advanced technology, which enables surgeons to more precisely perform cataract surgery aided by a computer-controlled laser.

Dr. Roberto Pineda and Technician Tom Keane by new Femto laser
Dr. Roberto Pineda and technician Tom Keane by the new laser

According to Alcon Surgical, the laser’s manufacturer, the LenSx® Laser offers a level of accuracy exceeding that of manual surgery methods. The surgeon uses the LenSx® Laser to first image the cornea and cataract in the eye to plan a procedure uniquely designed for the patient. The laser then dissects the cataract, creates the corneal incision and an opening to remove the cataract allowing the surgeon to perform surgery with exacting, individualized precision not attainable with traditional surgical methods. A more precise incision also reduces the risk of infection because the incision is more likely to self-seal. Additionally, femtosecond laser surgery uses less energy to break up the cataract into smaller softer pieces, thereby reducing the risk of burning and distorting the incision, and complications such as a detached retina.

Drs. Roberto Pineda II, director of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Keratorefractive Surgery Service, and Sherleen Chen, director of the hospital’s Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Consultation Service, are both impressed with their experience using the LenSx®. “Conventional cataract surgery is regarded as one of the safest and most effective surgeries, with predictable outcomes, however, the outcome is dependent on the surgeon’s skill and experience,” Dr. Pineda notes. “Femto-assisted cataract surgery is an evolution in cataract surgery that results in more precise, reproducible procedures that we expect will further enhance surgical safety and visual outcomes for patients, as well as speed recovery time. My patients are now spontaneously starting to ask for this technology.”

Mass. Eye and Ear’s Cornea Service and Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Consultation Service include 16 refractive and cataract surgery specialists who practice in Boston — at 243 Charles Street and at 800 Huntington Avenue in the Longwood Medical Area — as well as in Stoneham and Waltham. Femto-assisted cataract surgery is available at the 243 Charles Street location.

“Our goal always is to provide the best, most appropriate care to patients whose individual circumstances and needs are unique,” explains Dr. Chen. “Femto-assisted technology is an important technological advance so we’re very excited to make it available to patients.”

Medicare and private insurance typically cover some of the costs of laser-assisted cataract surgery. However, there may be out-of-pocket expenses involved, including for imaging associated with advanced technology lenses.
Cataract surgery is the most common operation in the world, accounting for 19 million operations worldwide per year, with nearly three million of those in the United States. These numbers are expected to increase significantly over the next decade as the over-65 population continues to grow.