A sight without sore eyes

Breakthrough laser surgery that can dissolve cataracts in seconds with less risk of complications than conventional techniques has launched in the UK

Millions of British people can look forward to a lifetime of better sight, thanks to a revolutionary treatment that has just been launched at the London Eye Hospital in Harley Street. Offering safer, more accurate and less invasive treatment for cataracts – which affect about 60 per cent of people over the age of 60 – the new surgical procedure uses a computer-guided laser to dissolve the cataract.

For years, cataracts have been regarded as an unavoidable and unpleasant side effect of ageing. Current techniques for cataract removal, which utilise high-frequency ultrasound to achieve ‘phacoemulsification’, requires a 3mm incision with a blade.

Patricia Paul is living life to the full again

Where the London Eye Hospital differs from this treatment is in the microscopic detail of the procedure. Using a Femtosecond cataract laser, surgeons create a 3D model of the eye at almost micron levels (0.001mm) of accuracy. Laser pulses, which last one quadrillionth of a second, then dissolve the cataract and also create a tiny incision through which to remove it – all without needles, a blade or any discomfort.

This new approach to cataract surgery reduces the risk of complications such as damage to the fine membrane surrounding the lens, and as the incision is so small the risk of infection is lower.

Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Bobby Qureshi became the first surgeon in the UK to use a Femtosecond laser for cataract treatment in August 2011, and is the most experienced laser cataract surgeon in the UK. To cater to growing demand, the London Eye Hospital has opened a purpose-built operating suite with a Femtosecond cataract laser.

One of Qureshi’s patients at the London Eye Hospital, Patricia Paul, had light adjustable lens surgery and was delighted by the results. “Not only was my procedure a complete success, but Qureshi was an absolute pleasure to work with,” says Paul. “He always took the time to explain everything, and was never in a rush. I now have the best vision that I’ve ever had. It’s amazing how sharp and colourful everything looks.”

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