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Glick Eye Institute ophthalmologist offers new lens to provide vision improvement for cataract patients

May 5, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Central Indiana residents whose vision was clouded by cataracts are praising a new lens implant being used by an ophthalmologist at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute. “It’s like a windshield has been removed from in front of my eyes and I can see everything – the whole thing,” said 58-year-old Indianapolis resident David Sutherland. His lens implant surgery was performed by Daniel Spitzberg, M.D., an ophthalmologist with the Glick Eye Institute at the IU School of Medicine. Dr. Spitzberg is the only faculty physician using the new lens in cataract surgeries.

“This new lens allows patients to see clearly at both distance and near, which is so beneficial for them, particularly if they suffered from cloudy vision for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Spitzberg. Cataract patients, he said, lose vision when their natural lens becomes cloudy. Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss for people over age 55; nearly everyone will develop cataracts if they live long enough. 

“If you think of the eye like a camera, the natural lens is what focuses images onto the back of the eye, the retina. As patients age, the natural lens can become cloudy and yellow, causing vision to become blurry,” said Dr. Spitzberg. “Surgical lens implants have been around for a long time, and correct that blurry vision. This new lens implant restores vision to the degree that many patients do not need reading glasses.” 

Sutherland, who had his surgery at the Glick Eye Institute satellite clinic in Mooresville at St. Francis Hospital, said his vision changed overnight. 

“I told my boss I might have to take some extra time off just to discover the things I’d been missing,” said Sutherland, who has had the lens implant in both eyes. 

Linda Norwood, a 66-year-old Mooresville resident, has received one lens implant and is looking forward to the next surgery – something she never thought she’d say.

 “I was petrified when he explained the procedure,” Norwood said, “but I’m having my other eye done in a few weeks. Dr. Spitzberg explained everything, and I was afraid, but it’s all been absolutely perfect.”

Dr. Spitzberg said the surgery is a common outpatient procedure, and patients typically return home the same day. The procedure is accomplished by making a small incision in the outer surface of the cornea, where the natural lens and cataract is removed. The new lens is then inserted to replace the natural lens.

“We’ll place a bandage over the eye and instruct the patient to take it easy, and return in the next day or so for a follow up exam,” Dr. Spitzberg said. He said patients typically wear the eye patch overnight.

“I’ve had great results with this lens implant and every patient has reported vast improvement in his or her vision,” Dr. Spitzberg said.

Billie Williams, a 68-year-old Carmel homemaker, said it took quite a while before she “gave in” and underwent the implant surgery, but is so glad she did. 

“I’m not one to go to the doctor, but I had cataracts and they had progressed. It was hard to drive, especially at night, even with glasses. I can see so much better, and now I’m having the other one done in a few weeks,” Williams said.

Williams, Norwood and Sutherland all say they would encourage other cataract patients to consider the procedure. 

“There really was no pain, and I see so much clearer and brighter now,” said Norwood. 

“Don’t be afraid,” said Sutherland. “The technology is here and it’s remarkable.” His only side effect has been minor irritation to his eyes on windy days, only because he no longer has to wear his glasses.

“I’m very pleased,” said Williams. “It was a good experience.” 

Dr. Spitzberg said every patient is evaluated individually for the procedure. The lens he is using, IOL Softec HD, is a state-of-the-art lens and has been approved for use in qualifying patients. While not part of a formal study, Dr. Spitzberg said he is comparing this lens implant with other lens implants he has used in cataract surgeries.

About cataracts

Cataract symptoms include:

  • Blurry or dim vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in low light
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Colors appearing yellow or faded
  • A need for brighter light for reading
  • Eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions need to be changed frequently

 Risk factors for cataracts include:

  • Age
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Excessive or prolonged exposure to sunlight
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Previous eye injury or eye surgery

 More information: http://iueye.iu.edu/patient-care/for-patients/

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