Revolutionary Femto Laser Technique to Correct Refractive Defects and Cataract in Milan, Italy
PlacidWay, a US-based medical tourism company and Istituto Auxologico Italiano, located in Milan, Italy have joined hands in a common goal - to help patients from all over the world get access to affordable, high-quality and successful laser surgery for eye conditions, performed by experienced and certified surgeons, that bring new levels of safety and accuracy.
Many surgeons predict that soon, all ocular surgery will be performed with lasers. Femto laser is the most recent ocular laser technology intended for people who can’t see without glasses or contacts. Whether you suffer from short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hypermetropia/hyperopia), astigmatism, or age-related long-sightedness (presbyopia), these sightedness conditions can be treated safely with the laser.
Femtosecond lasers have been used successfully in ophthalmic surgery since 2001. The femtosecond laser applies laser energy in an extremely short period of time, one trillionth of a second, so no significant heat is generated. The laser, guided by an advanced imaging system known as OCT, can create precise incisions, automating steps of cataract surgery that have traditionally been done manually with a surgical blade. The laser can also make corneal incisions to treat astigmatism. The computer-driven incisions are more precise and reproducible than what can be done manually by hand. For some patients, this new technology may make cataract surgery even safer.
In Femto LASIK the laser replaces a mechanical device (microkeratome) to create a precise corneal flap preparing the eye for the secondary laser ablation in order to change the patient’s refractive error. There are several benefits: femtosecond lasers have been noted to be more precise than microkeratomes, with fewer likely collateral tissue effects. This has contributed to more precise, reproducible and safe Lasik outcomes.
"To me, cataract surgery can be seen as falling into two categories. For some patients it’s simply a medical procedure in which we’re removing a lens and putting in an implant, followed by basic refractive care, which means glasses. On the other hand, if the patient wants the ability to function as best he can, whether at distance or at near, without glasses, that becomes refractive cataract surgery. Patients in the latter category are open to being educated and choosing to receive new technologies like femtosecond surgery”, said Dr. Fulvio Bergamini from Istituto Auxologico Italiano in Milan, Italy.
Istituto Auxologico Italiano was founded in 1958, and since 1963 it has become a Research Foundation. In 1972 the Italian Ministry of Health has recognized the center as a Scientific Institute for Hospitalization and Care. Istituto Auxologico Italiano has more than 55 years of research and treatment activity in the medical field. For more than half a century the hospital has been offering local and international patients innovative surgeries and advanced rehabilitation.
Cataract surgeons who use lasers say that their advantages are especially evident when it comes to high-tech, premium implants such as presbyopia-correcting multifocal IOLs and accommodating IOLs. The advantages can include better lens placement and therefore more accurate visual outcomes.
Refractive laser-assisted cataract surgery costs more than conventional options. The laser itself can cost the surgeon approximately $300,000 to $500,000, and additional costs are associated with using and maintaining the device.
Extra costs associated with laser cataract surgery are unlikely to be covered by private health insurance. Fees vary from one cataract surgeon to another, but it is likely you would pay a few hundred dollars extra per eye out-of-pocket for a laser-assisted procedure.
Dr. Bergamini notes that an increasing number of patients are coming in asking specifically for Femtosecond Laser cataract surgery.
"We’re seeing more and more of that. As patients are forced to be more responsible for where their health-care dollar goes, they’re starting to look around more. And word does get out that these technologies exist. Patients are interested in seeing better, and they like the concept of laser surgery in general. I think the technology is showing that it can deliver, so if a patient comes in requesting it, that makes the discussion about the options pretty easy”, he said.
The initial investigations into the use of femtosecond laser technology in cataract surgery included strict inclusion criteria. With experience the criteria has expanded and surgeons are now exploring the potential benefits of the femtosecond laser in complicated cases. The ability of surgeons to provide significant advantages to patients at risk of major intraoperative and postoperative complications will continue to increase and may ultimately represent a substantial benefit of femtosecond technology.
"I think we’re starting to see more data supporting the idea that femtosecond cataract surgery does have advantages over traditional phacoemulsification using ultrasound. I agree that traditional cataract surgery is excellent; but once you start using the femtosecond laser, you do see some advantages, and those are beginning to come out in the studies. Patients get quicker visual recovery because there’s less ultrasound energy, and there’s less inflammation in the eye. I do believe that over time we’ll see the femtosecond laser become an increasingly important part of cataract surgery”, said Mr. Pramod Goel, CEO and founder of PlacidWay, an internationally recognized industry leader in medical tourism.
It is important to put this new technology into proper perspective. Traditional cataract surgery is very effective and successful. People who do not want to invest out-of-pocket money in laser cataract surgery can still feel confident about the traditional approach. But for those who want the best possible vision, the laser approach is appealing. A more accurate incision, capsulotomy and astigmatic correction will help to achieve their goal of less dependence on glasses after cataract surgery.
PlacidWay is a leader in the global medical tourism industry and its goal is to offer up to date information and resources regarding medical travel, international providers, treatments, procedures and destinations for international travelers in more than 30 countries worldwide with more than 250 internationally accredited medical centers.
Even though the early results of laser cataract surgery are promising, this is newer technology that deserves in-depth research and discussion with your doctor so that you can make the best possible decision for your situation. If you want to know more about Istituto Auxologico Italiano and the services they offer, do not hesitate to get in touch with us!