Laser Glaucoma Surgery Questions

What are my options for laser glaucoma surgery?

Depending on the type of glaucoma you have, your options for laser glaucoma surgery include laser peripheral iridotomy, and laser trabeculoplasty. Laser trabeculoplasty includes argon laser trabeculoplasty, selective laser trabeculoplasty, and micropulse laser trabeculoplasty. The method most suited to your needs will be determined by your ophthalmologist.

Are there risks with laser glaucoma surgery?

All surgeries have some risks. Surgical risks like bleeding and infection may occur, but are very rare. A risk specifically related to laser glaucoma surgery is a temporary increase in intraocular pressure. This will be carefully monitored by your eye surgeon in the days following your procedure.

Is laser glaucoma surgery permanent?

Glaucoma can be treated, but not cured. Laser glaucoma surgery can greatly reduce the pressure in your eyes and reduce your risk for future vision disorders, but it may need to be repeated in the future. Eye drops and oral medications may also be required to continue outflow of fluid from your eyes.

Why should I consider laser glaucoma treatment?

No two treatment options are ideal for every patient, but glaucoma must be treated. Left untreated, glaucoma will eventually lead to blindness. Working closely with an eye doctor in your area, you can determine what method of glaucoma treatment is best for you.

If you have questions about laser glaucoma surgery, please locate an experienced ophthalmologist in your area through www.eyes.com to schedule an initial consultation today.

Femtosecond Laser Capable of Performing Both Cataract and Refractive Surgery Announced

Rochester, NY – Bausch & Lomb and Technolas Perfect Vision GmbH (TPV) have announced they have arranged to globally distribute a femtosecond laser capable of performing both cataract and refractive surgery procedures on the same platform. This is the first time a femtosecond laser is able to do this.

Femtosecond laser technology allows eye doctors to create precise and centered capsulotomy to improve intraocular lens placement, and fragments the lens for a less invasive removal during the procedure. This technology also allows better precision over manual techniques in cataract surgery and is much better for patients.

The new Bausch & Lomb and TPV femtosecond laser will allow ophthalmologists who perform both cataract and refractive laser surgery to use one platform for both procedures.

According to Robert E. Grant, chief executive officer and president of Bausch & Lomb Surgical, “Femtosecond laser technology for cataract procedures promises to be one of the most significant clinical advances in cataract surgery in 40 years.”

He says this is the first of several new technologies the company is pursuing that is focused on helping eye doctors enhance the outcomes for their patients.

The arrangement agreed upon is that TPV will develop and manufacture the laser system in Munich, Germany where its state-of-the-art facilities are. It will also service the laser worldwide. Bausch & Lomb will use its cataract expertise and “commercial capabilities” to distribute the laser globally.

If you have any questions about cataracts or laser corrective surgery, please contact an experienced eye doctor in your area through www.eyes.com today.

Advances in Laser Surgery Allow for More Air Force Pilot Applicants

San Antonio, Texas – Pilots in the US Air Force need 20/20 vision, and since 2000, thousands of applicants have taken advantage of laser vision correction offered by Air Force ophthalmologists. The Air Force recently made the decision to allow laser vision correction for more students and aircrew.

According to Lt. Col. (Dr.) Charles Reilly, chairman of the ophthalmology department at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, the Air Force wants to go beyond standard care to state-of-the-art. “What we’re interested in for our active-duty members isn’t just to get them better vision but to get them the best vision humanly possible,” he said.

Phororefractive keratectomy vision correction was offered to a limited number of airmen early on. In 2004, LASIK was approved for pilots, depending on the kind of aircraft they fly. In 2007, the rules were eased, and last year eligible Air Force patients included both rated and non-rated airmen for LASIK.

It is estimated that since 2000, there have been roughly 76,000 vision correction surgeries performed in the air force. Also, by allowing these procedures, the air force is able to consider more applicants. Around 20 percent of applicants have undergone refractive surgery. Around two percent of pilots have received refractive surgery since this was offered to them last year. Recently, the air force has allowed even more airmen who have worse vision than those who used to qualify.

This obviously extends to deployments where glasses and contact lenses are not optimal. Lt. Col. Reilly says the benefits extend from the simple, such as not having your glasses fog up when you leave an air conditioned building to not having to search for your glasses during a night time mortar attack. In addition, laser vision correction allows airmen to see much more clearly with night vision equipment.

In the future, the focus will be on “improving human performance” with laser vision correction in the military.

If you would like to learn more about various laser vision correction surgeries in your area, please contact www.eyes.com to find an experienced ophthalmologist.

New Laser Aims to Take Error Out of Cataract Surgery

Stanford, CA – A research paper from Stanford University School of Medicine presents findings about a new laser for cataract surgery that is more precise in producing cuts to the lens capsule than the traditional way.

While there have been many advances in most aspects of cataract surgery, the removal of a disc from the capsule surrounding the eye’s lens – called a capsulorhexis – has been done using a scalpel and a thin, elastic, transparent tissue. The new system for femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery may completely remove the need for manual dexterity.

The laser takes any risk out of tearing the layer of tissue or of the scalpel slipping and resulting in serious and permanent vision impairment for the cataract patient. This new system allows the laser to pass through the outer tissue of the eye without damaging it to cut the hole in the capsule and slice the cataract and lens.

This is done prior to the patient entering the operating suite. The laser also creates a multi-planar incision through the cornea that stops below the outermost surface. This means the surgeon will have to cut less and also decreases the chance for infection.

According to the paper, femtosecond lasers have already been used widely and successfully to reshape the cornea to improve vision acuity. They work by delivering pulses at a quadrillionth of a second. In order for them to be used in cataract surgery, the laser needed to be able to cut tissue deeply inside the eye and reach a level of intensity high enough to ionize tissue at a selected focal point, and also have pulse energy and average low power enough to avoid collateral damage to surrounding tissue.

The laser is being produced by several private companies, including OpticaMedica Corp. of Santa Monica, California. The authors of the paper also have stakes in the companies.

For more information about laser technology used on the eyes, please contact www.eyes.com to find an experienced eye doctor in your area.

Corneal Collagen Cross Linking Safe for Children with Keratoconus

Chicago, IL – According to a study done by researchers in Italy, corneal collagen cross-linking is both safe and effective in children with progressive keratoconus. This is important because keratoconus progresses more rapidly in children than it does in adults. Using corneal collagen cross-linking in children may reduce the need for early penetrating keratoplasty, according to the researchers.

Corneal collagen cross-linking has been approved in Europe, but has not made it out of clinical trials in the US. The treatment reportedly relies on a photochemical reaction involving topical riboflavin and UV-A light to induce cross-linking of the corneal collagen fibers. It is hoped that the cornea will be strengthened and the progression of the disease will be stopped.

The study looked at 66 eyes in patients between the ages of nine and 18 who had documented cases of progressive keratoconus. The thickness of the patients’ cornea was not less than 400 μm at the thinnest point. This is standard and is done to ensure the retina does not absorb the UV-A radiation.

The corneal endothelium was then removed and corneal cross-linking was performed using the standard procedure. This entails instilling 0.1% riboflavin in 20% dextran solution each minute for 30 minutes into the corneal stroma to protect the lens and retina from the UV-A. The solution was then applied every five minutes of another 30 minutes while the eye was irradiated with UV-A. Refractive and tomographic outcomes were then measured for the next 24 months.

Two years after collagen cross-linking, both uncorrected and best spectacle-corrected visual acuity improved significantly by at least two lines. However, though the data is encouraging, other ophthalmologists say there is still no cure for progressive keratoconus. The researchers involved say that if the keratoconus progresses, the patients may need another corneal cross-linking treatment.

If you have questions about keratoconus, please visit eyes.com to find an experienced eye doctor in your area.

Features to Look for in Protective Sports Eye Wear

For people who play sports, protective sports eye wear is becoming an essential part of the uniform. Enhancing eye safety and reducing sun glare is important in the United States since more than 40 thousand people are treated each year for sports related eye injuries. However, not all sports goggles are ideally designed for every sport.

When selecting a sports goggle, you will want to find a pair that:

  • Comfortably fits your head
  • Provides full protection for your sport
  • Is made out of high quality plastic
  • Can fit inside of a helmet, if necessary

Your eye doctor will be able to take the sports goggles you choose and fit them to your face. Ensuring a snug fit reduces instances of slippage, and helps provide for ultimate eye safety.

You can visit a sporting goods store for sports goggles, but it is important to remember that only an experienced ophthalmologist will be able to properly fit your goggles for your needs. Additionally, your eye doctor can fit your frames with your prescription, and has access to the highest quality, scratch and impact resistant materials on the market. You may save a few dollars up front by purchasing your sports goggles from a sporting goods store, but only your eye doctor can provide you with ultimate protection and durability.

If you are interested in learning more about protective sports eye wear, please locate an experienced ophthalmologist in your area to schedule an appointment.

Protective Sports Eye Wear

In nearly every modern day sport, the popularity of protective sports eye wear is growing. Much of the popularity has to do with trendy new styles, adding individual flair to a team uniform, but equally important is the enhanced safety sports goggles provide.

In the United States each year, over 40,000 athletes are seen in hospital emergency rooms due to sports related eye injuries. Athletes take time to ensure they are protecting their bodies against injury, but only recently has an increased awareness of eye safety been duly acknowledged. Debris, errant balls, fingers, elbows, and feet can make contact with your eye in any number of sports, and having protection between your and eyes and these objects protects you from irritation, discomfort, and even vision difficulties.

Protective sports eye wear is made from a scratch resistant, incredibly strong plastic. The frames can be fitted with prescription or nonprescription lenses, and serve not only to protect your eyes, but to cut down on glare and reduce sun damage. With enhanced safety and increased vision, it’s no wonder protective sports eye wear can now be seen on both professional and hobby athletes.

Talking to your eye doctor about the type of sports you play will allow him to fit you with a pair of sports goggles that are ideally suited to your athletic activities. With a wide variety of designs and styles, your ophthalmologist can fit you with protective sports eye wear that will keep your eyes safe while allowing you to express your unique individuality.

If you are an athlete and interested in protective sports eye wear, please locate an experienced ophthalmologist in your area to schedule a fitting appointment.

Age Related Eye Disease Therapies Do Not Increase Heart Risks

Durham, NC – According to a report in this month’s issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including an injection into the eye of a chemotherapy drug, are not associated with an increased risk of  heart problems or death when compared to other existing therapies.

The authors, doctors at Duke University, state that 12 percent of the over 1.5 million Americans with age-related macular degeneration have neovascular disease. This occurs when blood vessels form in the eye and accounts for 80 percent of cases of severe vision loss. There used to be only two approved therapies for this condition, which slowed vision loss, but did not improve visual acuity. These were:

  • Photodynamic, or laser,  therapy in combination with the photosensitizing medication verteporfin
  • eye injections with pegaptanib octasodium, a nucleic blocking abnormal blood vessel growth

Another treatment included using the cancer drug bevacizumab, an antibody that blocks the growth of blood vessels. This treatment is associated with an increased risk of heart problems in chemotherapy patients, but it is administered 150 times less in the AMD treatment than in the systemic treatment, and has been deemed much safer.  Another cancer drug called ranibizumab was approved by the FDA in 2006, but the off-label eye treatment use of bevacizumab has continued – probably because it’s cheaper per dose.

The study’s authors analyzed records from over 146,000 Medicare beneficiaries who received AMD treatment in 2005 and 2006. They tracked reports of heart attacks, strokes, bleeding and death through 2007. There were no differences in the therapy risk groups. Patients who received ranibizumab were actually less likely to suffer heart attacks or die than those who received photodynamic therapy, and less likely to have a heart attack than those given pegaptanib.

The authors conclude that there is no evidence of increased risk of death or other serious heart problems among Medicare patients who received the cancer drug treatments for AMD.

If you would like to speak to one of our experienced eye doctors about AMD, please visit us at www.eyes.com today.

Light-Sensing Chip Offers Limited Sight to Blind

Retinitis pigmentosa is a relatively rare genetically inherited eye condition in which cells in the eye’s retina, called photoreceptors, lose function and die off progressively from the periphery of the retina toward the middle. The result is gradual loss of vision, beginning with night-blindness and leading to the loss of peripheral vision (tunnel vision) and eventually total blindness.

The pace of this progressive eye disease varies widely among those afflicted, and retinitis pigmentosa is not treatable with laser vision correction or other common types of eye surgery.

Currently, there is no known treatment that significantly slows or stops the progression of retinitis pigmentosa, but progress is being made in restoring some limited sight to those who have become completely blind due to the condition. In a recent clinical trial, eleven patients with retinitis pigmentosa had sophisticated microchips implanted in their retinas. The Retinal Implant chip contains 1,500 light-sensing diodes and is inserted directly behind the retina where it transmits seven image flashes per second via electrical impulses to the dysfunctional retinal cells.

The chip is not capable of delivering detailed visual information to the brain, but subjects were able to pass some visual tests without major adverse effects from the implants. In the tests, the retinal implant recipients were asked to describe fruits by shape, identify large block letters, squares with different shades of gray, and identify faces.

One patient successfully passed all five visual tests, while others had less impressive results. Eyeglasses seemed to improve the implant recipients’ visual acuity.

I learn more about retinitis pigmentosa and other eye diseases and conditions, please visit eyes.com or find an ophthalmologist in your area.

Biosynthetic Corneas Help Restore Vision

A clinical trial of biosynthetic corneas conducted by Dr. Per Fagerholm of Linkoping University in Sweden and Dr. May Griffith of the University of Ottowa’s Ottowa Hospital Research Institute has produced very encouraging results. Dr. Griffith has been working with her colleagues for over a decade to produce a viable biosynthetic cornea suitable for implantation in humans. Collaborating with Dr. Fagerholm, she began a clinical trial two years ago of this first-ever biosynthetic corneal implant in humans.

For two years, Drs. Griffith and Fagerholm closely followed the progress of the 10 patients who received the biosynthetic corneas. Now, they have found that the patients’ cells and nerves had successfully integrated with the biosynthetic implant. The regenerated corneas act like healthy, natural ones, even becoming touch-sensitive and producing tears normally.

This study is the first so far to demonstrate that an artificial cornea can successfully be integrated with the eye tissue and produce a regenerative effect. With millions of patients worldwide waiting for a human cornea transplant, the potential of this technological innovation is clearly impressive.

The patients in this clinical trial had advanced keratoconus (conical cornea) or scarring of the central cornea. With further advancements in the biosynthetic material and the surgical implantation technique, Drs. Fagerholm and Griffith hope to establish the effectiveness of biosynthetic corneas for treating a broader range of eye diseases and conditions that usually require a corneal transplant.

To learn more about cornea transplants and other eye surgery procedures, please visit eyes.com or find an ophthalmologist in your area.