How Innovative Technology Has Revolutionized Cataract Surgery and Lowered Costs

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 2-Nov-2015

If you checked into cataract surgery in the past, but were put off by the cost, hassle and discomfort of the multiple drops needed post-surgery, now is an ideal time to revisit your options. Much has been written about studies on the effectiveness of dropless cataract surgery in recent months and how it can eliminate the down-side of post-operative eye drops for some patients.

And there’s one other major breakthrough this advance offers patients:

Cataract surgery is now more affordable

Believe or not, cataract surgery is one of the oldest medical procedures, first documented in the 5th Century, B.C. by Babylonian and Indian healers. Countless advances have improved the treatment over the centuries. The first reported surgical removal of cataracts occurred in Paris in 1748.

Another major advance happened in 1967 when an American doctor used a technique to remove the lens using only one tiny incision. In recent years, breakthroughs including high-tech lens replacement and laser technology have further revolutionized cataract procedures.

The latest milestone in cataract surgery means patients can see more clearly with even less discomfort, little to no requirement for post-operative eye drops and at a significantly lower cost.

Helping patients address the rising cost of drops necessitated change

Recognizing the patients’ need for a less expensive cataract surgery option that was the main driving force behind Key-Whitman Eye Centers aggressively pursuing the medication formulation necessary to perform its No-or-Low Drop procedure at its North Texas locations.

“What we’ve seen in the past year and a half is an exponential rise in patient complaints about the rising cost of drops at their pharmacies. Unfortunately, we have no control over those costs, so until recently, we couldn’t do anything to make it better.

We even had patients who would decide not to have cataract surgery, because the eye drops – even generics – were so expensive at the pharmacies. (Drops can range from $400-600 per eye.) Now, patients can have the surgery to improve their vision without breaking the bank,” says Key-Whitman President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D.

Dr. Whitman explains how patient concerns about pharmaceutical costs drove his organization to seek a solution.

The dropless procedure has been proven safe and effective

Dr. Whitman heard about the breakthrough early on and subsequently learned the process directly from the surgeon-inventor of the dropless procedure, Jeffrey Liegner, M.D.

“Even though its been making headlines of late, dropless cataract surgery isn’t a brand new thing. We heard great things about the procedure when a number of our colleagues had early access to the formula on a study basis,” Dr. Whitman says.

Because Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactures the formulation, only recently had a pharmacy presence in Texas, Key-Whitman turned to a Dallas compounding pharmacy nine months ago to create the same formula for its practice. Consequently, Key-Whitman was one of the first practices to perform the procedure in North Texas.

According to Dr. Whitman, “We began rolling out the No-or-Low Drop procedure here on a case-by-case basis, and the results have been terrific. Both the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects have been as good or better as what patients experienced with traditional drops, and without the surface irritation some people find with drops.”

Key-Whitman’s No-or-Low Drop approach offers all the benefits of dropless cataract surgery plus an option for those who need some drops

As Dr. Whitman explains, “The far majority of cataract surgery patients will be a good candidate for the dropless procedure, but for those who are not, we also offer a low or less drop option. The same company that manufactures the medication formulation for the dropless procedure also makes post-operative, all-in-one drops at a much lower cost than the traditional drops. One of the qualities we like about this pharmaceutical company is its consideration for patient costs.”

If you are a candidate for the dropless cataract surgery, your eye surgeon will instill the medication in the eye at the end of your cataract surgery.

“It doesn’t take any additional time, and patients don’t feel a thing. The medication slowly dissolves over time, releasing the medication as you need it, so you experience the same effect you would with traditional drops – without the high cost, hassle or surface irritation,” says Dr.Whitman.

If you are NOT a candidate for dropless cataract surgery – no worries. With the No-or-Low Drop option, most medications are combined into one formulation, so in many cases, you only insert one drop 3x/day. That’s a huge improvement over the traditional treatment of three drops, 3x/day during your recovery period (typically two to three weeks).

Laser technology can enhance your No-or-Low Drop experience even further

Today, Key-Whitman patients can opt for leading edge, laser cataract surgery with the femtosecond laser, which allows the eye surgeon to perform steps that were previously done by hand. Consequently, Dr. Whitman finds with his patients there is less invasiveness, higher precision and improved patient outcomes.

Dr. Whitman discusses the improved safety, reduced inflammation and quicker healing laser cataract surgery provides.

Revisit your cataract surgery options today

If you have discussed cataract surgery with your eye doctor in the past and put your surgery on hold, you may be surprised what new cataract options are available today. From the latest in technology to lower-cost, less-invasive procedures – solutions for reversing vision loss are better than ever before.

As Dr. Whitman explains, “Whenever we have the opportunity to remove barriers to patients improving their vision, that’s our goal. With No-or-Low Drop and laser cataract surgery options, we have the best solutions available to help patients look and see better again.”

Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club

Categories: Cataract Surgery
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