The Women's Journal

New Advances in Cataract and Vision Correction Surgery

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New advances in cataract surgery have not only reduced risk and inconvenience, but have also improved outcomes. In the era of refractive surgery where reducing one’s dependence on eyeglasses has become possible and even commonplace, cataract surgery patients can also now achieve spectacle independence in addition to the main goal of correcting diminished vision. While incremental changes in lens quality have improved distance vision, recent innovations in the past five years have provided near and intermediate vision correction.

Medicine has seen dramatic change in our generation, and ophthalmology has led the way in technological advances. New treatments for macular degeneration have allowed stabilization and, in many cases improvement, for patients who previously had no hope. Improved medications for the treatment of glaucoma have also prevented vision loss in one of the most common causes of blindness. In what is now one of the most common surgical procedures of any kind for patients over the age of 65, cataract surgery has seen one of the most remarkable transitions. Improvements in cataract surgery have minimized discomfort and inconvenience, reduced risk, hastened recovery, and, most importantly, improved outcomes.

As recently as 30 years ago, patients were left without a lens following cataract removal, needing contact lenses or thick spectacles for functional vision. Early lens implants dramatically improved quality of life for patients, but did not come close to restoring the eye’s natural vision. Steady, incremental evolution in both optics and structural design improved visual outcomes.

Over the years, several lenses have been tested in attempts to restore the eye’s ability to focus up close while still providing good distance vision. Most early models were plagued by a compromise in quality of vision or by irritating glare. Since 2003, three new lenses have been approved by the FDA, dramatically advancing the field of refractive cataract surgery by reducing the post-surgical patient’s dependence on reading glasses. Further refinements in these lenses have fine tuned benefits to optimize near, far, and intermediate benefits.

As an ophthalmologist practicing in this era of great technological advances, I am privileged to have the opportunity to provide the highest quality of care to my patients. While conservative and cautious of new approaches which have not been tested, I have continued to monitor the field for successful breakthroughs. Having introduced a number of these advances to Delaware, including laser vision correction, conductive keratoplasty (for improving near vision without glasses), and DSAEK (a new and less invasive form of corneal transplantation), I was happy to be one of the first to offer the Crystalens accommodating lens implant, the only lens which adjusts to focus at near, far and intermediate distances using the eye’s natural muscles. Not every patient is a candidate for this new technology, so a careful and informed evaluation is necessary to determine the best approach. Regardless of which lens is chosen, better outcomes can be achieved with today’s technology.

Jeffrey B. Minkovitz, M.D., is with Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A., 1207 North Scott Street, Wilmington, DE 19806. Dr. Minkovitz is affiliated with Christiana Care, Wilmington, DE; St. Francis Hospital, Wilmington, DE; and Wills Surgery Center, Wills Eye Surgical Network, Wilmington, DE. Dr. Minkovitz served as an Assistant Professor with Johns Hopkins University from 1998-2004. He received his M.D. in 1990, University of Mass-achusetts Medical School; and his B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Harvard University in 1986. Dr. Minkovitz received his certification in 1996 with the American Board of Ophthalmology and in 1991 received certification with the National Board of Medical Examiners. For six consecutive years, Dr. Minkovitz was awarded the distinction of “Top Doc” for excellence in the field of Ophthalmology in a survey of his peers. Dr. Minkovitz is a highly accomplished surgeon with over 13 years experience. Dr. Minkovitz is fellowship trained in cornea, cataract, and refractive surgery. As one of Delaware’s leading cataract surgeons, Dr. Minkovitz offers both ReZoom™ and Crystalens® to his patients. For further information or to schedule an appointment please call 302-656-2020 extension 38.