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Posted: June 8, 2013 4:52 p.m.

Eye doctor conducts new cataract procedure

Abbott, a global health care company, recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved launching a new treatment for cataract patients in the United States, and a local optical facility has already conducted the procedure.

Abbott in April announced the FDA’S approval of the TECNIS Toric 1-Piece intraocular lens (IOL). The TECNIS Toric 1-Piece IOL is the treatment for cataract patients with pre-existing corneal astigmatism, according to a news release from the global health care company.

Corneal astigmatism is a condition where the curvature of the cornea is uneven, preventing light rays from focusing clearly on the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Intraocular lenses are implanted in a patient’s eye after the removal of the natural lens that has become clouded by a cataract.

Unlike conventional IOLs, the TECNIS Toric 1-Piece IOL can correct a patient’s loss of focus due to pre-existing corneal astigmatism of one diopter (a unit of measurement of the refractive power of a lens) or greater, the release said.

Jose Bigles-Geigel, M.D., with Georgia Ophthalmologists in Covington, conducted an implant surgery with new TECNIS Toric 1-Piece IOL on a patient to correct their astigmatism recently.

"The cornea is basically half of a perfect sphere. But in some people, the sphere is a not-so-perfect sphere, like an American football, and this causes blurring," Bigles-Geigel said. "What’s new is that the new lens can correct for astigmatism and it ‘stays in place’ better than previous lenses."

Bigles-Geigel said about 25 percent of his patients have astigmatism. According to Abbot, the average age for the cataract surgery patient in the U.S. is approximately 68 years, with more than 3.5 million procedures performed annually.

As the U.S. population continues to age, the number of cataract surgeries is expected to grow nearly 3 percent each year, increasing patient demand for improved, precise outcomes and independence from glasses.

Bigles-Geigel said each cataract operation takes 10 to 15 minutes. During the surgery, one eye is done at a time and the second eye is typically done within a week. The patient has to take it easy the day after surgery, but usually can resume a normal routine the second day after surgery.

Bigles-Geigel said because the toric lens technology is so new, there will be out of pocket costs for patients beyond what insurance covers for cataract surgery.

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