A bladeless robotic laser technology is now available in the country to treat cataract, a condition where the lens of the eye clouds and hampers vision.
The femtosecond laser cataract removal technique, which had received the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval in 2010-end, has better results in terms of vision quality and surgical precision than the earlier forms of surgery.
In the earlier technique, the incision in the cornea is made through a hand-held blade -- breaking cataract into pieces, sucking those pieces out of the eye and placing an artificial lens manually.
“The new technique is entirely machine-assisted and more accurate,” said Dr Mahipal S Sachdev, chairman, Centre for Sight group of super-specialised eye hospitals, which conducted 10 such procedures since they got the machine a week ago.
The steep cost of the surgery does not make it suitable for the poor, which comprise majority of cataract patients in India. “It costs R75,000 more than the conventional surgery. As of now, it is a niche treatment procedure, but as the technology evolves, the prices will come down,” said Dr Sachdev.
The machine uses high-intensity rays, which are focused on the lens to break the cataract into pieces. The corneal incision is made through machine-generated vapours that are self-sealing. “As there is no use of blade and no loss of blood, the risk of infection is very low and recovery is much faster,” said Dr Ritika Sachdev, additional director medical services, Centre for Sight.
As the final positioning of the lens is done by the robot, the quality of vision is far better. Delhi has two more such machines installed at Eye7 Group of Hospitals and Dr S Bharti’s Eye Foundation.