The Game Changers: A New Frontier for Cataract Surgery
By Jeffrey B. Morris, M.D., M.P.H
2014 marks the beginning of a new exciting frontier for laser cataract surgery!
Today I am proud to announce that Morris Eye Group is among the first practices in the country to offer the Bausch & Lomb Victus® Cataract Laser which is housed in the San Diego Laser Cataract Center.
The Victus® laser is now the first step in preparing my patients for cataract removal. The laser automates the most challenging parts of the cataract procedure and eliminates the surgeon’s free-hand incisions that were previously done with blades and sharp instruments. The laser creates precise incisions and a round opening in the capsule of the lens. Remarkably, all of this is done without actually creating an open wound in the eye.
In addition, the Victus® Laser performs astigmatism correction, allowing for better vision with less dependence on glasses. All of these steps are performed quickly, painlessly, and with precision.
When I started operating in 1983, many physicians, including myself, were hesitant to operate on patients’ cataracts unless they were very advanced. At that time cataract surgery was a more risky procedure than it is today, especially compared with the recent advancements of cataract laser preparation treatments.
Just like a camera has a lens, so does the eye. A cataract is a cloudy formation on the natural lens within the eye and the only way to remove a cataract is with cataract surgery.
Most of us can remember our grandparents having to stay in the hospital after cataract surgery with sandbags on their shoulders to keep their head stable while they healed. They had to wear thick glasses after surgery to see well and often times surgeons would only operate if the patient’s cataract was “mature” or “ripe” and causing severe vision loss.
The good news is that today’s cataract procedures are nothing like those our grandparents went through. Many advancements in the 1980’s and 1990’s made the procedure much safer with smaller incisions and the invention of soft, foldable intra-ocular lens implants or IOLs. Once the cataract was removed, an IOL was implanted to replace the natural cataract lens; this IOL allowed patients to have renewed distance vision. With these types of IOLs patients would still be dependent on glasses for astigmatism and near vision correction.
Today many of my patients elect “auto-focusing” or “smart lens” implants along with the Victus® Cataract Laser. These are among several IOL options that help patients be less dependent on glasses after cataract surgery.
Once my patients have undergone the quick Victus® laser preparation, they are taken to the operating room for removal of the cataract and implantation of the IOL.
In addition, the Center for Surgery, where I operate houses the ORA Verifeye®, another piece of technology that has revolutionized cataract procedures. Prior to cataract surgery, specific measurements are needed to help the surgeon select the power of the IOL needed for the patient. However, these measurements are taken while the patient still has a cataract inside the eye. Sometimes, due to the cataract, the power of the implant can be off. We now have a way to confirm the power of the IOL once placed inside the eye. After the surgeon removes the cataract the ORA Verifeye® will recalculate measurements of the eye and either validate the power of the implant selected or recommend a different power. If the ORA Verifeye® comes back with a different calculation the surgeon can change the power of the implant at the time of surgery helping to decrease the risk of needing to re-operate. This is very important for the Baby-boomer generation, many of whom underwent LASIK making cataract surgery measurements less predictable unless aided with the new ORA Verifeye® technology.
As I look back on my career as an ophthalmologist, I am proud that we have come so far with treatment options for patients. The evolution of ophthalmology has brought about priceless advancements that I see directly when performing modern cataract surgery including: lowered risk, surgical astigmatism correction, increased availability of IOL options, greater visual outcomes, and faster, easier recovery time for patients. There are very few practices in the country on the cutting edge of this new frontier in cataract surgery technology and Morris Eye Group is among the first to offer laser cataract preparation. For those in need of cataract treatment, there are more exciting options available now than ever before!
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