Are there different options for incisions with cataract surgery?

In 2012 the FDA approved the first laser designed to be used during cataract surgery. Laser cataract surgery makes very precise incisions in the cornea using laser technology. The laser then makes a perfectly circular opening on the lens surface. The same small ultrasound probe used in regular cataract surgery is then used to liquefy and remove the cloudy cataract lens. Astigmatism treatments can also be performed with a laser (limbal relaxing incisions). Because this new technology is expensive there is an additional cost for a cataract surgery performed with a laser. You now have the choice of having standard cataract surgery performed with a blade or laser cataract surgery. Not all patients qualify for laser cataract surgery because according to Medicare the only part of the procedure that can be charged an additional fee is the astigmatism treatment. Even if you want to have the laser done, Medicare will not allow your doctor to charge you more for this procedure unless astigmatism is being treated at the same time. In some ways this does not make sense, but Medicare is trying to protect you from extra charges that may not improve your surgical outcome.

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