Laser Option for Cataract Surgery

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cataract surgery is done more than any other operation in America -- a million and a half times a year.  The latest innovation is laser cataract surgery.

Dr. Andrew Moyes of Moyes Eye Center has a system called LensX at St. Luke's Northland Hospital. First, it creates a 3-D image of the eye that's used to program the laser to make cuts instead of the surgeon using a blade.

The laser cuts the capsule of the natural lens and cuts the lens into pieces.  It also makes other cuts that give the surgeon access to the lens to replace it.

The cuts are made in a matter of seconds.  Dr. Moyes says a big advantage is precision.

"Our goal is to really minimize glasses with this.  That's the expectation of our patients.  The second benefit is it's that much gentler -- less swelling, less chance of complications."

The downside is cost.  It's about $1,900 more per eye than standard surgery, and Medicare and other insurers won't cover the extra cost.

Dr. Moyes and other doctors say patients who can't or don't want to pay extra can still feel confident in traditional cataract surgery.

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