New cataract surgery the main focus of eye doctor

 

Dr. David Creech holds two boxes of Symfony lenses at Halpern Eye Associates at Eden Hill Medical Center in Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Dr. David Creech holds two boxes of Symfony lenses at Halpern Eye Associates at Eden Hill Medical Center in Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER –– Patients undergoing cataract surgery now have the option to see better than ever by receiving newly FDA approved Tecnis Symfony Intraocular Lenses.

“There are people who come in that are 60 and older and have worn glasses all their life and when they leave here, they will walk out seeing better than they’ve ever seen before,” said Dr. David Creech, an ophthalmologist at Halpern Ophthalmology Associates in Dover.

Dr. Creech is the first surgeon in Delaware and one of the first in the country to have performed cataract surgery using the new Symfony lenses.

“A traditional lens implant can correct your vision for distance or near, but it doesn’t give you your focusing ability back,” he said. “This lens gives you back that focusing ability and provides you with the best and smoothest range of vision of any lens we’ve used before.”

Dr. Creech said he’s very excited to now give patients the option to use the Symfony lenses and so far about a dozen have chosen to.

The main barrier at this time is cost because unlike traditional lenses, the Symfony lenses are not yet covered by insurance.

“With the traditional lens, which is monofocal, people can only pick to see distance or near and most people pick distance,” Dr. Creech said. “But they’ll still need glasses for reading or seeing anything close up. But with Symfony, they won’t need glasses for any range, distance, intermediate or near.”

Cataract surgery is an extremely common procedure with about four million performed annually and Dr. Creech hopes the superior Symfony lenses will become more common in procedures.

“Everyone, over the years, the lens of the eye gets cloudy and begins to affect the vision. It can start to seem like you’re looking through a dirty window, and this is what we call a cataract,” he said.

To a certain extent, the cloudiness can be improved with glasses but Dr. Creech said glasses will never totally give people with cataracts clear vision because they will still be looking through the “dirty window.”

“Once the cataract forms and the vision becomes affected, we’re able to do the procedure to replace the lens and give the patient that clear vision,” he said.

The procedure is a quick and easy one for both doctors and patients, with the actual surgery taking between eight and 10 minutes –– some days, Dr. Creech completes a dozen before taking a break for lunch.

Patients are given numbing eye drops and are hooked up to an IV for mild sedation –– not enough to put them under, just enough to keep them calm.

Once the quick prep is done, the patient is laid back and all they see is typically a bright light from the microscope the surgeon looks at the eye through.

“I make a very small incision –– about 2 millimeters –– to remove the lens of the eye and then I replace it with the implant,” he said.

The patient doesn’t feel anything during the surgery and the incision is so small, no stitches are required and the eye heals on its own.

Mr. Creech said the recovery time is very short and patients can usually resume their regular activities the next day, if not sooner.

And when they resume those activities, they will see better than ever and with the Symfony lenses they won’t have problems associated with traditional lenses like poor day to night transition or glare and blur problems too severe to drive or carry out other activities at night.

“This is an option for really anyone. A lot of people will get it for cataract surgery, but it’s also a good option for people above 40 who are considering LASIK because again, this lens is going to be able to restore a wide range of vision and that focusing ability,” Dr. Creech said.

If you’re considering cataract or LASIK surgery, ask your ophthalmologist about Symfony lenses. Additional information can also be found online at tecnisiol.com.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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