Over three million people undergo cataract surgery each year making it the most common surgery performed in the United States. As more baby boomers reach 65 years of age, cataract surgery is estimated to surge in the coming years. As technology improves, patients should be asking what treatments are available and what the future technology of cataract surgery holds.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which causes decreased vision. They affect more than 22 million Americans and are the most common cause of vision loss in adults over 60. In most cases, cataracts cause a slow, progressive decrease in contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. Thus, most people are usually not aware of their cataracts until the vision is decreased enough that they can no longer do their normal activities of daily living. For example, the cataracts may make it difficult to drive a car or read a newspaper. In fact, many patients begin to notice vision changes especially with driving due to glare symptoms. People with cataracts usually elect to have them surgically removed when their daily activities are negatively affected by impaired vision.
A dramatic improvement in vision is usually noticed after surgery. Many people are surprised by the sudden improvement, and wonder why they didn’t do the surgery sooner.
When glasses can no longer improve eyesight sufficiently, cataract surgery should be considered. It is a relatively painless procedure and, has been very successful in restoring vision over the past thirty years. Traditional cataract surgery involves a process called phacoemulsification. A tiny incision is manually created in the cornea, a thin ultrasound probe is inserted, and ultrasonic vibration is used to dissolve the clouded lens. The clouded lens is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL will remain permanently inside the eye in this location, acting similar to an intraocular contact lens. IOLs cannot be felt or sensed in any way by the patient.
Patients like Gary Totsi, a 47 year old man who is legally blind and has worn glasses since he was 10 years old, is one of the millions of patients a year that has overcome cataracts and life-altering vision problems with cataract surgery. Gary Totsi’s had what is known as coca-cola cataracts. They are very dense and so dark brown they look like the color of coca-cola. Gary wasn’t able to see his computer screen at work even when he was only a few inches away with his glasses on. He longed to see the things he considered worth seeing in the world again like the sky and the ocean.
Dr. Gregg Feinerman, world-renowned eye surgeon in Newport Beach, CA recommended a new revolutionary technology, Crystalens, to help Gary eliminate cataracts and see both near and far away without glasses. Crystalens is different than other lens implants because it mimics the eye’s natural lens. When the eye muscle contracts to read up close or looks at a computer screen, the lens reacts and bends allowing for excellent adjustable focus.
Dr. Feinerman performed Gary’s Crystalens procedure which is less than 15 minutes and was able to restore his vision pain free. Gary credits Dr. Feinerman with changing his life. After years of struggling to see, Gary is now able to see near and far without glasses. Dr. Feinerman is grateful he is able to provide Gary and all of his patients with the latest technology and improve their lives by restoring their vision.
Ophthalmology and especially cataract surgery is constantly evolving and surgeons like Dr. Feinerman are continuously improving cataract surgery techniques. Just as Crystalens has revolutionized artificial lenses, lasers have modernized some of the traditional tools in cataract surgery and replaced phacoemulsification with “bladeless” and “heat free” surgery using a computer-guided laser known as a femtosecond laser. Instead of manually making an incision with a blade, Dr. Feinerman provides a new LenSx system using the femtosecond laser, which is the most technologically advanced and gentler option for cataract patients than ever before.
Femtosecond lasers have become the next great leap forward for cataract surgery technology because of the benefits to patients compared to traditional cataract surgery. Laser created incisions are exceptionally precise eliminating the manual steps of using a surgical blade. Implants are less likely to shift during the healing process due to smaller laser incisions and better fitting accuracy during surgery. Much less ultrasound energy is used in the eye, which is safer and less invasive for the patient than manual cataract surgery. Dr. Feinerman is able to produce predictable successful outcomes for his patients that traditional cataract surgery does not due to the extraordinary accuracy of the LenSx technology.
Many people with cataracts also have astigmatism. Like Crystalens, another ground-breaking development in this field is a new cutting-edge technology that can treat both cataracts and astigmatism in one simple procedure. Standard IOLs cannot treat astigmatism, making eyeglasses necessary to correct for blurry vision even after the procedure. Trulign Toric from Bausch + Lomb is the first FDA-approved premium IOL that not only improves near, intermediate, and distance vision, but offers superior rotational stability.
Dr. Feinerman uses Trulign Toric to improve the patient’s broader range of vision by replacing the eye’s natural lens after the cataract has been removed. After surgery, the patient should be able to see objects in sharp focus that are near, far and everything in between. Correcting cataracts and astigmatism at the same time is a major advance in cataract surgery.
Crystalens, LenSx and Trulign Toric systems enhance Dr. Feinerman’s position as the leading eye surgeon in Orange County and his potential to provide advanced cataract treatment options and custom solutions to each patient’s vision needs. Dr. Feinerman is committed to providing tailored surgeries with advanced technology to reduce the need for glasses or contacts after surgery.