Laser Cataract Surgery vs Traditional Cataract Surgery

If you have been diagnosed with cataracts you might be confused about two different surgery options available. One utilizes ultrasound technology and is called phacoemulsification” (PEM). The other combines the use of a laser with ultrasound.

Types of Cataract Surgery

Traditional Cataract Surgery

Traditional phacoemulsification cataract surgery uses a small ultrasonic probe that dissolves the lens with sound waves so it can be gently washed away. The procedure is patient-friendly and cost-efficient.

Traditional Cataract Surgery

Laser-Based Cataract Surgery

Alternatively, laser-based cataract surgery uses femtosecond laser technology to create an incision, remove the front portion of the lens capsule and soften the clouded lens. After that step is completed, the traditional phacoemulsification device is still needed to complete the removal of the cataract. That is why laser cataract surgery is referred to as “Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery”, or FLACS.

FLACS vs. Standard PEM

Dr. Lipstock is known as a leading authority worldwide in his research related to laser cataract surgery versus traditional cataract surgery. He has influenced the thinking of thousands of cataract surgeons on this subject. Dr. Lipstock has concluded that FLACS takes longer, costs considerably more, and does not add to the safety or accuracy of the procedure.  Dr. Lipstock’s research conclusions were later validated in 2017 in a large clinical study by the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. At Lipstock Cataract Center, Dr. Stevens does occasionally perform FLACS for very complex cataract cases. But, both Drs. Lipstock and Stevens agree for the vast majority of cataract surgeries it is preferable to perform standard phacoemulsification. If you would like to learn more about FLACS, please contact us to schedule an eye exam and discuss the pros and cons of FLACS with our doctors.


To learn more about your cataract surgery options in Richmond, schedule a cataract exam with Dr. Lipstock today!