Lasers and Cataracts

Lasers are often associated  and confused with cataract surgery but the operation remains essentially a cutting procedure with the emulsified cataract irrigated out of the eye and requiring skill and experience for a good result.

Cataracts surgery is assisted by various forms of lasers.

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Berwick Eye and  Surgicentre

We are a modern ophthalmic practice  and have been providing the communities in the South East suburbs with specialist eye care for  over 20 years.

Berwick Surgicentre

Berwick Surgicentre is an accredited Day Surgery serving the needs of the Berwick and its surrounding suburbs. It is contracted with all health funds , operates Saturdays and has  provided modern , safe ophthalmic surgery for over 13 years

Our Services

We provide a comprehensive range of services and specialties from cataract surgery to paediatric, squint, glaucoma, ocular immunology, medical and surgical retina and neuro-ophthalmology by subspecialists recognised in their field.


Our People

Our dedicated staff are highly  trained to provide you with the  best care possible. We also pride ourselves in educating you fully in your medical condition to allow you to participate in your own care. We welcome your support persons and interpreters as required

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YAG laser capsulotomy


YAG laser capsulotomyApproximately 20% of patients will develop haze of a membrane behind the intraocular lens (IOL) implant following cataract surgery, which results in diminished vision. The vision may be blurred, hazy, or is associated with significant glare and loss of visual acuity. This condition, known as posterior capsule opacity, is sometimes referred to as “secondary cataract.” Cataracts, however, never recur following cataract surgery. 

Posterior capsule opacity may be thought of as a scarring process in the capsule or membrane, which contained the natural lens (cataract) of the eye. The condition of posterior capsule opacity is not preventable, but fortunately, is treatable and nearly always restores or improves vision. 

Posterior capsule opacity may be treated with an in-office or outpatient minor laser procedure known as a YAG laser capsulotomy. In this procedure, a laser is used to remove the hazy capsule situated behind the IOL implant. This usually requires dilation of the eye prior to the procedure. The procedure takes only a few minutes, is entirely painless, and is not associated with any post-operative discomfort.  

Following a YAG laser capsulotomy procedure, patients may resume normal activities immediately. Most patients may expect their vision to improve within a day following the procedure. As with any eye procedure, patients should contact their ophthalmologist  immediately if visual acuity worsens or fails to improve. Patients should anticipate some “floaters” following this procedure, however, these will likely resolve within a few weeks time

Femtosecond assisted Cataract surgery

The Facts:

Surgeons at Berwick Eye Centre perform both conventional and Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery.

For most patients, conventional eye surgery is more appropriate and cheaper by thousands of dollars.


Femtosecond assisted cataract surgery is where  a laser mimics some of the surgical steps such as cutting the wound, cutting the capsule, and breaking up the lens up into fragments .

For experienced surgeons there is no proven benefit to this technique that adds a layer of complexity to the operation and effectively doubles the cost to the patient

The cost

A femtosecond laser costs in excess of $500,000.  Each procedure incurs a “click fee” of about $300 to the company selling the laser. Additionally a highly trained technician has to be employed to run the machine and the machine maintained by an expensive service contract. The laser cannot be housed in the operating theatre but needs to be housed in a special air-conditioned room.  This cost to the patient is not covered by Medicare or Health funds and does not include a surgeons’s fee for that part of the operation. This cost varies but is about an additional  $1000 per eye.  There is a financial pressure for Femtosecond owners to recommend the technique. If in doubt get a second opinion.


Not everyone can have Femtosecond.

Patients with narrow eyes or poorly dilating pupils or very dense cataracts cannot undergo Femtosecond Assisted Laser surgery or only benefit from minor parts of the laser technique.



The Claim

The Reality

Femtosecond Laser assisted Surgery  is Safer

Cataract surgery is very safe in skilled hands. There are no studies that show Femtosecond laser reduces complications such as ruptured capsules.  Femtosecond Laser carries its own learning curve and  sets of inherent complications.

Femtosecond Laser assisted Surgery is more accurate

There is no doubt a laser can draw a more circular capsular opening than a surgeon can do by freehand technique. However to date multiple studies have not shown a clinically significant benefit or increased refractive accuracy to result from femtosecond surgery.

This is because the size or placement or shape of the capsular opening has little bearing on the final position of the implant that is governed by is supporting hooks or “haptics” in the capsular bag.

Femtosecond laser assisted Surgery delivers less harmful energy than conventional surgery.

Surgeons who use phaco-chop techniques deliver similar minimal heating  to the eye during surgery as Femtosecond. Dr Hauptman uses phaco-chop technique.  In modern practice loss of the cornea requiring transplant is incredibly rare irrespective of the technique used.

Femtosecond is recommend for specialty lenses such as multifocal lenses  

The is no proof by any study backing this up

Femtosecond assisted Surgery is of clinically proven benefit.

There have been today about  100,000 use of Femtosecond laser in the world over five years as compared to 15,000,0000 conventional operations. Despite this there are no past or planned controlled   comparison studies of statistical worth.  There is no doubt that Femtosecond assisted is as safe and effective as conventional surgery though not better.

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