Carey Pena: Well, it is one of the most common surgical procedures and considered one of the safest. But one valley eye doctor says that doesn't mean cataract surgery can't be improved.
Sandra Haan: I couldn't get the colors right. Nothing ever looked right, so I was getting very frustrated
Carey: Sandra Haan loved to paint, but when she got cataracts even that wasn't fun anymore. But she really know she had to do something when she was planning a trip to Alaska.
Sandra: So I wanted to get them out before I went to Alaska because there's a lot of distance I need to see in that area.
Carey: Haan also knew that with that trip coming, she did not have a lot of time to recover which is why she opted for laser cataract surgery at the Arizona Eye Institute.
Sandra: I had it done on like a Monday. I went back to work on Wednesday and the next Wednesday I left for Alaska.
Carey: Dr. Emilio Justo is one of the few doctors using the LenSx Laser system in the valley. He says first and foremost, he feels it offers increased safety.
Dr. Emilio Justo: In doing it by the laser, in my opinion, makes it much more reproducible, precise, and accurate. And with that reproducibility, in my estimation, comes an increased safety factor.
Carey: For all cataract surgery, an incision is made in the cornea. Dr. Justo says traditionally doctors make that cut with a blade.
Dr. Justo: But still it relies upon the human hand and the human hand can only be so precise.
Carey: With this system, measurements are programmed into a computer and the laser actually suctions to the eye.
Dr. Justo: In that way, in case if the patient slightly moves their eye, that device stays with it.
Carey: Haan says while it sounds uncomfortable, it really is not.
Sandra: I didn't even notice what happened. I walked out of here like nothing, it you know, you got some ointment in your eye.
Carey: She said she drove herself to the office the next day with a new clarity.
Sandra: I'm reading signs you know from a block away. I thought, "I can see this. Oh I didn't know I could see this! "
Carey: A clarity that has also given her a fresh eye for her art.
Sandra: I'm setting up a studio in my house. I can get back into it.
Carey: You should because you're very talented! And while insurance does cover cataract surgery, most so far do not cover the laser procedure.