Cataract patients don't just want to see better than they did before entering your ORs. They want to see better than they did before middle age brought on bifocals and readers. They want to reduce or even eliminate the need for glasses after surgery. "No matter what patients tell you, their expectations for how well they'll see after surgery are even higher," says Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, founder of the Whitsett Vision Group in Houston, Texas.
Is your facility equipped to let surgeons deliver the optimal refractive outcomes more cataract patients are demanding? Several new advances empower ophthalmologists to impact post-op vision outcomes like never before. These include lasers, premium multifocal lens implants and intraoperative aberrometry. We asked leading ophthalmologists how these advances have helped them achieve better refractive cataract surgery outcomes.
1. Femto lasers
If you want a sexy new technology that's almost certain to attract new patients who seek out care at cutting-edge facilities, by all means drop several hundred thousand dollars on a femtosecond laser platform. If you want to add equipment that truly impacts refractive outcomes, you might want to spend your money elsewhere. "There's been no long-term, peer-reviewed study that's shown femtosecond laser surgery provides better safety and efficacy than manual techniques," says Dr. Whitsett.
That may be true, and we hear from some high-volume surgeons who believe lasers are more marketing hype than meaningful tool, but that doesn't mean the technology doesn't add clinical benefit during complex cataract cases.
"The laser's best application is during surgery on patients with low to moderate levels of astigmatism," says Ronald Krueger, MD, MSE, medical director of refractive surgery at the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Cole Eye Institute. "Surgeons can use the laser to make specific limbal-relaxing incisions to achieve the desired astigmatism correction and optimal refractive outcomes."