Friday, May 22, 2009

Crystalens HD

The Crystalens HD is a fourth generation accomodating implant used during cataract surgery. It gives a better range of focus than previous models. The Crystalens implant is the only IOL of its kind approved by the FDA. Because it is flexible, patients are able to see both distance and near without the need for eyeglasses. As time goes on, I expect to see even better models with a still wider range of focus. See for more information.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Premium IOLs in Europe

In what may appear to be contradictory facts, European patients have more choices of premium intraocular lenses to be used in their cataract surgery but fewer than 10% actually end up getting them.
There are more choices because the implants can be brought to market sooner with fewer regulations. Some of the implants currently being reviewed by our FDA are already being used in Europe.
But...because of the restrictive health care system, many of these implants are available only to patients who get their care outside of government provided health care. This is because many of the plans do not allow doctors additional compensation for the additional time and expense involved in providing these implants. They are even forbidden to attempt to collect any additional fees from the patient. This is a tremendous disincentive to providing these lenses. Why would a doctor take on the additional expense and spend additional time and still be reimbursed the same?
Likewise, hospitals and ASCs may be reimbursed a set fee for cataract surgery that include the cost of the implant. Hard strapped facilities would find it hard to justify providing a more expensive , premium product and still be reimbursed the same.
Fortunately, in our country, doctors and facilities are able to recoup the additional expense involved in providing these implants. As time goes on, more and more patients are choosing these implants as a means to reduce their dependence on glasses and that's worth something isn't it?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Evidence of the Benefits of LASIK

An article in the April issue of the Journal "Ophthalmology" highlights the benefits of new LASIK technology. The article described visual performance in simulated night driving conditions using two different LASIK technologies. One group of patients had conventional LASIK with a microkeratome the other group of patients had an all-laser Wafefront guided LASIK (custom, femtosecond flap)
The authors concluded that Wavefront-guided LASIK to correct myopia combined with a femtosecond laser flap significantly improved mean night driving visual performance and was significantly better than conventional LASIK using a mechanical keratome.
Potential LASIK patients may want to educate themselves on the distinction between different LASIK technologies to insure the best outcome. Think twice before trusting your eyes to a LASIK discounter who advertises a bare bones "out the door" price.
I can help you sort through the maze of articles and different studies. Readers are welcome to come in for a free LASIK consult. We even offer convenient evening hours. Concerned about cost? We participate in all insurance LASIK programs and offer interest free financing for up to 24 months.
Abstract of the article available by clicking on the link.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Glaucoma and Alzheimer's Disease

Open-angle glaucoma patients are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease over time, a review of 12 years of Medicare claims found.
Researchers presented their findings at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting recently. To come to their conclusion, the investigators followed a group of glaucoma patients and compared them to a similar group of patients without glaucoma. The glaucoma patients were much more likely to eventually develop Alzheimer's disease.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Changing Eye Color

An ophthalmologist in Panama is currently implanting a colored implant in patients to change eye color. The cost is approximately $8000 plus airfare and accommodations. These implants may be of value to patients with albinism (lack of color) but patients who are receiving these for purely cosmetic reasons are cautioned about potential long term side effects. The lenses have the potential to cause cataract, glaucoma, corneal decompensation, infection and irreversible blindness. They are currently not approved for use in the US.

Changes in Corneal Thickness after LASIK and PRK

Correcting vision by LASIK or PRK involves removal of corneal tissue. Therefore, the cornea is thinner after the procedure than before. Investigators in Denmark wanted to study what happens to the cornea in the months after refractive surgery. They followed patients for 36 months after LASIK or PRK and found a thickening in both the top (epithelial) layer and deeper (stromal) layers in the months after refractive surgery. Doctors and patients can feel more at ease knowing that the cornea does not continue to thin in later years after LASIK.