Cataract laser, is this a gimmick?
I applaud eye care for the information on the laser for cataract surgery. As with all new technologies there is always an initial level of enthusiasm.
There are important things to remember about the new cataract laser. The laser does not really ''remove'' the cataract. It only makes an incision and creates an opening in the cataract capsule. Sometimes it can be used to ''soften'' the cataract. All of these steps are now done safely and with precision with diamond blades.
The laser is an additional, significant ''out of pocket'' expense to patients. Medicare and insurance carriers do not pay for the expensive ''laser'' part of the cataract procedure.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology blue journal recently noted that the laser provides no cost benefit to patients in terms of safety or outcomes, but does significantly raise the cost of the procedure for patients.
The Dodick Laser system was the only ''true'' cataract laser approved to actually remove cataracts from the eye. As the only surgeon certified in northern Ohio in the Dodick procedure, I would agree with the majority of comments from the eye surgery community that this new gimmicky laser ''is a device waiting for a procedure.''
James Martuccio, M.D.