For many years people have thought cataract surgery was performed with lasers.  However, for the past three decades the primary technique has been ultrasound.  Now Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery is available, studies have demonstrated that the use of a laser during surgery results in safer surgery and better outcomes for patients.

The technology has been evolving since its introduction with earlier systems requiring the procedure to be performed in two stages. The new Ziemer Z8 laser is the first system to perform this in one smooth procedure providing unprecedented comfort and convenience for patients. The flexibility of the Z8 laser means patients no longer need to lie absolutely flat, alleviating one of the greatest worries patients have when considering cataract surgery.

The remarkable Swiss-made Z8 Ziemer Femotosecond laser technology was introduced to the UK by Guildford Nuffield Hospital in Guildford, Surrey earlier this year.

Consultant Eye Surgeon, Rakesh Jayaswal explains: “We have waited a long time for this break-through technology and the results are outstanding. Traditional cataract surgery is performed by hand and is an art in itself. However, the laser performs steps in the surgery with unprecedented precision – beyond anything humanly possible with a degree of accuracy down to one thousandth of a millimeter.”

 

Over 70 patients have undergone surgery with the Z8 since its introduction earlier this year. The laser technology is used in cataract surgery, refractive lens exchange, corneal transplantation and keratoconus treatments.

“The benefits over manual surgery are well documented. The laser measures the eye and maps out the shape in great detail, creating a 3D model. The surgeon can then use this data to programme the laser to centre perfectly on the eye.

 

The technology also extends beyond cataract surgery. Consultant Eye Surgeon, Mr Michael Tappin explains: “The introduction of premium lens technology has resulted in a significant increase in the number of people undergoing refractive lens exchange surgery, the most popular technique to reduce dependency on glasses in patients over 40 years of age.

“Due to the accuracy of the laser, the incision in the lens capsule, known as the capsulorhexis, is perfectly round and centred, allowing better positioning of the lens implant, making it more suitable for lenses that correct all forms of refractive errors, including long-sight, short-sight, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Mr Tappin continues “The laser separation plane is incredibly smooth because it uses extremely high frequency yet low energy pulses, which causes minimal inflammation to the eye.

“From a patient perspective, the experience is extremely comfortable, with most patients not being aware of the laser during its application.

Mr Jayaswal and Mr Tappin have achieved outstanding results using the Z8 on patients whose lives have been transformed. They say that the state-of-the-art laser is at the forefront of what is recognised as a paradigm shift in eye surgery.