So you’ve received access to a femtosecond laser for cataract surgery. Great!
It’s not always easy to determine which of your patients – current or future – would make a good candidate for laser-assisted cataract surgery. Although it might be tempting to push your new laser on each and every one of your prospective patients, some people benefit more from the laser than others.
Below, we’ve listed three things that make a good laser cataract patient.
1. They want a refractive outcome.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery is an excellent way to achieve refractive results in patients with cataracts. Not only can physicians address astigmatism during the surgery itself, but they can also more precisely implant premium IOLs.
Some patients view cataract surgery as a medical procedure. Others, meanwhile, view it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. After all, if you’re going to have a doctor poking around your eye, you might as well get your astigmatism fixed, too!
2. They have a complex cataract.
Compared to traditional cataract surgery, femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery may be better at handling complex cases.
In an article published with Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today, Tal Raviv, MD, discussed instances in which he prefers to use the femtosecond laser. He found that the femtosecond laser benefited patients with Fuchs dystrophy, subepithelial infiltrates, small pterygia, Marfan syndrome, and ectopia lentis among other conditions. He also found that laser cataract surgery made it easier for him to perform surgery on patients with white cataracts.
Multiple studies and reports have also found that laser cataract surgery can benefit certain types of complex cataracts.
3. They believe the benefits outweigh the price.
Since laser-assisted cataract surgery is a premium procedure, it might be tempting to think that only patients with high income will choose the procedure. Don’t be fooled! Patients will choose laser-cataract surgery if they believe the benefits outweigh the price. As a rule, you should never assume that a patient isn’t willing to spend money on laser-cataract surgery.
Make sure that your patients understand the difference between traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery. (Did we mention we have an explainer video that does just that?) If they understand the benefits, they may be willing to look beyond the price tag.
Like all surgeries, laser-assisted cataract surgery has contradictions. For instance, Inder Paul Singh, MD, cautions against performing the surgery on patients with corneal scarring, corneal pannus, glaucoma surgery blebs, and small pupils. He also warns against fidgety, anxious patients that may flinch under the laser.
Make sure your entire team understands which patients can benefit from laser-assisted cataract surgery and which patients need traditional cataract surgery. Although most of you won’t be making medical decisions, it’s important to have a clear and consistent message across your staff.