As she approached 80, Mary Savoie knew it was time for cataract surgery. Cataracts, produced by the yellowing of the eyes’ lenses, were interfering with many of her favorite activities and prevented her from driving at night.
For decades, eye surgeons have practiced the circular incisions to gain access to those lenses and then used ultrasound to soften and remove them. But a new laser procedure has emerged that allows patients to return to their active lives with less pain and shorter recovery time.
Savoie is the first patient at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford, and one of the first in the Bay Area, to have a cataract removed with the help of a laser. The technique involves making a precise circular incision guided by software mapping. The laser fractures the lens into tiny pieces, reducing the need for ultrasound intensity and duration in a way that cuts recovery time. Savoie had one cataract removed with the traditional approach and the other with the laser procedure. She shares her experience in the Stanford Hospital & Clinics video above.