Category Archives: Eyecare

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Cancer Restored My Vision

It sometimes takes overcoming something terrifying to realize that fear should never hold us back.

Image Credit: Ken Teegardin

Teresa Smith had talked about fixing her eyesight for years, but the simple idea of doctors operating on her eyes caused too much fear for her to move forward.

Unfortunately, in May of last year, Teresa Smith was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She experienced true fear as she struggled with the deadly disease.

Thankfully, she survived the treatments and beat cancer.

I want the best of every day

Having looked death in the face, many of her other fears were put into perspective. She now says, “I want the best of every day; I want to be the best I could be. I have no fear and nothing is holding me back anymore”.

Teresa finally went to see Dr. Choi at InVision Ophthalmology to get her vision fixed. His prayer before surgery reaffirmed that she was making a good decision.

Upon waking up from surgery, Teresa Smith cried.

She said, “I wore glasses since my childhood… I can’t believe no more glasses and contacts for me”. Teresa read 20/15 less than 24 hours after the surgery.

Is fear keeping you from being the best you could be? What would you do if you no longer had fear?

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US doctor working to cure curse of cataracts

The ululation of a formerly blind Ethiopian is one of pure joy.

When the patch is first removed, there is an initial moment of uncertainty and blinking that yields to a gaze of amazement and wonder. Next, the face embraces an expression of rapture as pure as a baby focusing on her mother for the first time.

A spontaneous grin widens into a full-mouthed smile as broad and glowing as an African sunrise. When the lips can spread no further, out gushes the throaty vibration of the ululation. Family members rush to the patient, often with tears flowing down their cheeks.

Not only is the patient freed from the fog of blindness but their caretaker is also now released from the burden of caring for the sightless.

In 1995, my partner Dr. Sanduk Ruit and I cofounded the Himalayan Cataract Project(HCP) (cureblindness.org).

HCP’s mission is to eradicate needless blindness through high-quality ophthalmic care, education and the establishment of world-class eye-care infrastructure.

The new book, Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives, chronicles our journey together and our dedication to bringing the highest-quality cataract surgical care to the most destitute and remote populations in the world.

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In poor countries there is often little awareness that sight can be restored. When I began working in Nepal, there was a generalized acceptance that blindness was inevitable.

Forty million people in our world suffer from needless blindness, making them unable to carry out the simple tasks of daily living. Eighty-five percent of this blindness can be treated or could have been prevented. The vast majority will remain without sight until they die.

Forty million people in our world suffer from needless blindness

The economic effects of blindness in the poorest places on our planet are severe. Blindness causes poverty, and poverty leads to lack of care and blindness.

Unlike chronic diseases and most other major causes of disability, half of all blindness in our world can be reversed overnight.

Sight restoration and blindness prevention are among the most cost-effective interventions in medicine. Utilizing intraocular lenses and pharmaceuticals manufactured in India and Nepal, the material cost for a sight-restoring cataract surgery is less than $25 U.S. dollars. If you include the cost of screening, transportation of the patient and a caretaker to the hospital, feeding them for two days, all post-operative medications and follow-up care, it is still typically less than $100.

We cannot quickly and easily get rid of cancer or cure HIV, malaria or tuberculosis, but we can cure a blind person overnight. A cataract surgery restores nearly perfect sight in one day and lasts the remainder of that person’s life. We have the tools. We have the system. It is time to ramp it up.

bb18fd168eClick here to find out more about the Himalayan Cataract Project.

Dr. Geoff Tabin

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Woman Receives Bionic Eye Implant

(WSVN) Patient Carmen Torres is finally able to see light after 16 years of darkness, thanks to her bionic eye. Speaking at a news conference held at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Friday, she described the moment when she realized she was able to see again. “It was very emotional, but I’m very strong. I didn’t cry. I was laughing, and I was just laughing like crazy,” she said.

WSVN-TV – 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

It was a joyful response after a complicated procedure. “Degenerations that are hereditary or age-related is what, right now, this device is aimed for,” said Dr. Ninel Gregori with the institute, “but who knows in the future?”

Doctors used advanced technology created by a medical device company out of California, inserting an implant into her eye that consists of a receiver and an array of electrodes. The implant works in tandem with a tiny camera located inside dark glasses worn by Torres. “That’s how I get my optics. Looking through the camera, and this is a coil, and this coil connects to Wi-Fi, to my implant inside my eye,” she said.

With time and training that includes playtime with her grandson, Torres has learned to interpret visual patterns. She likened using her bionic eye to learning a new language, adding that after an incurable eye condition diagnosis, she will be enjoying every moment of her new, high-tech eyewear. “They’re cool. I look good, I look different. Look at this,” she said.

Doctors with the institute have already identified a second patient through the Veterans Health Administration. They will fit him for a bionic eye once the finances for the procedure are in order.

Image credit: Ahmed Sinan

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LenSx Laser Cataract Surgery

imagesLenSx Laser Cataract Surgery – a new innovation in the most commonly performed procedure in the world

By Andrew Velazquez, M.D. and Price Kloess, M.D., Alabama Vision Center

The advances in cataract surgery have been tremendous in the past decade with the advent of bifocal and astigmatism-correcting intraocular lenses (IOLs) and now, with the introduction of a new laser to perform the procedure.  These technologies have given the over 1.5 million annual cataract surgery patients unprecedented options in vision correction, predictability and safety.

The LenSx laser is a femtosecond laser technology that is the same type of laser that brought new levels of safety, accuracy and predictability to the LASIK vision correction surgery.

Traditional cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective procedures today with predictable outcomes. However, it is highly dependent on surgeon skill and experience.  In traditional cataract surgery, we use a hand-held metal or diamond blade to create multiple incisions in the cornea (generally 2-4 depending on the amount of astigmatism).   The goal is to create incisions that self-seal and do not require sutures.  A circular opening is then made in the anterior capsule of the cataract.  The cataract is then divided into smaller segments with an ultrasound probe to facilitate its removal.   Finally, an intraocular lens is implanted to replace the cloudy natural lens.

If traditional cataract surgery is a 10 step procedure, the LenSx laser does the first six steps (including sectioning the cataract into smaller pieces) in 30 seconds.  With LenSx, we create a precise surgical plan with a sophisticated 3-D image of the eye called an optical coherence tomography (OCT). This real-time, cross-sectional view of the cornea and cataract allows for placement of all proposed incisions simultaneously with the exact desired positions and dimensions based on the actual dimensions of the tissues in view.  All of the critical incisions are made with a specific location, depth and length in all planes, and with the OCT image and the LenSx laser, they can be performed with unprecedented precision and consistency.

All of these factors are important not only for accuracy but also for increasing the likelihood that the incision will be self-sealing at the end of the procedure, which reduces the risk of infection. This reproducibility also enhances visual and refractive outcomes as IOL positioning is a significant factor in determining final vision.

 

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Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging technology that helps us plan the location and depth of incisions made during a laser-assisted cataract surgery procedure. OCT scans offer high-resolution and even cross-sectional images, to make the cataract surgery as precise as possible.

We anticipate the demand for LenSx cataract surgery will grow.  Our initial patients have had a good experience with excellent visual outcomes.  Additionally, greater community awareness will result from current marketing campaigns.  LenSx can be thought of as the “LASIK version” of cataract surgery.  As LASIK brought vision correction to a new level of safety, predictability, patient acceptance and superior visual outcomes, so too will LenSx laser cataract surgery raise the bar for expectations and visual outcomes.  The LenSx method of cataract removal is not covered by insurance so we predict that, as with LASIK, only a few eye surgeons in our area will make this a regular offering in their practices.

The LenSx laser is definitely the future of cataract surgery.  Ultimately it is our patients who will be the beneficiaries of this amazing new procedure.  We look forward to helping them see their best by offering this and other premium technologies.

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Callahan Eye Hospital Adds Laser Technology to Cataract Surgery

iStock_000000196367XSmallThe UAB Callahan Eye Hospital is adding a new option for removing cataracts with a refractive cataract laser called the LenSx®, by Alcon. The LenSx® refractive cataract laser system is an advanced technology that provides unmatched precision and computer control, allowing surgeons to customize cataract surgery for each patient.

A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Cataracts are common, especially in persons 60 years and older. The usual treatment is surgery that removes the old, clouded lens and replaces it with a new, artificial lens that improves vision in the vast majority of cases.

Laser surgery is a bladeless, computer-controlled procedure that is image guided.

“LenSx® uses sophisticated optical coherence tomography imaging to precisely determine the parameters of the surgery,” said Brian Spraberry, CEO of the Callahan Eye Hospital. “This technology adds a new level of computer-guided laser precision for the removal of cataracts and the correction of astigmatism.”

Spraberry says Callahan Eye Hospital will have 16 eye surgeons certified on the device.

“This really expands the availability of laser technology for cataract surgery in this community,” he said. “It provides new options for patients who will benefit from the precision of this system.”

The laser system uses a range of highly advanced technologies to capture high resolution images that map the size, depth and curvature of the cornea and other key features of the eye. The measurements provided by these images are used to plan and perform the surgery to exacting specifications not attainable with traditional surgery.

Cataracts are mostly a function of aging. Although they can occur in middle-age, they are more common in older persons. The National Eye Institute (NEI) says that by age 80, half of all Americans have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

The lens of the eye lies behind the iris and pupil and functions much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina in the back of the eye. It is made up of water and proteins. During aging, the proteins can clump together, clouding an area of the lens. Removing the old lens and inserting an artificial lens is the only effective treatment for advanced cataracts.

Exposure to sunlight and smoking are thought to be risk factors for cataracts. The NEI recommends wearing sunglasses and hats with a brim when outdoors, eating a healthy diet high in antioxidants and not smoking to reduce or delay the risk. Persons age 60 years and older should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years.

Symptoms of cataracts include cloudy vision, faded colors, glare, poor night vision and double vision.

The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital will have the LenSx® laser on-line on April 9, 2013. For more information, visit Callahan Eye Hospital at uabmedicine.org/seeclearly.

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