WILL PINKSTON | The Sun
Dr. Barbara Bowers adjusts the alignment of a new laser cataract removal device that will provide patients with a more efficient cataract removal and swifter recovery time. The device is the first of its kind in the state.
Cutting-edge medical technology in the form of new laser cataract surgery promises to be a real eye-opener for local patients’ recovery and visual acuity.
The relatively new procedure allows ophthalmologists the benefits of computer-guided laser incisions and cataract removal, optimizing the outcome of the surgery for the patient.
Referred to as a revolutionary procedure by physicians across the country, the Federal Drug Administration-approved laser technology is already helping patients in Paducah.
Dr. Barbara Bowers, board certified ophthalmologist with Innovative Ophthalmology, said she had pursued the technology for nearly a year and after extensive training she was able to perform the first such procedures in the state on Tuesday.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I’ve always liked to stay up on technology and be able to provide my community with the best technology. And patients can choose. If they choose not to go this route, we still have the old route which is perfectly fine.”
According to the National Eye Institute, cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest procedures, as more than 1.5 million surgeries are performed each year to help patients see clearer.
The traditional cataract procedure requires a manual incision into the eye to allow for the placement of a small probe. That device emits an ultrasonic wave to break apart the clouded, natural lens so that it might be aspirated and replaced with a clear, artificial lens.
The new laser device creates a smaller, more precise incision and eliminates the cataract through laser energy, which is less traumatic to the inside structures of the eye than the ultrasound, Bowers said.
As a result, the procedure leads to less inflammation and less swelling of the eye, meaning a faster visual recovery. Where a traditional approach might require up to three weeks for recovery, the laser could cut that to a week or less.
“The response from the patients has been phenomenal,” Bowers said. “They love the option and right now, about 50 percent of my patients are deciding to take the option.”
With tens of cases lined up over the coming weeks, Bowers said surgeons from across the state have planned to travel to Paducah to learn about the benefits of the new technology.
Call Will Pinkston, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.