By Key-Whitman Eye Center
If you have previously looked into cataract surgery, but were put off by the expense, inconvenience and annoyance of the multiple drops needed post-surgery, now is a great time to revisit your options. There has been a lot of research showing the effectiveness of dropless cataract surgery in recently and how it can do away with the negative experience of post-operative eye drops for some patients. And there’s one other major improvement this advance offers patients:
Cataract surgery is now more affordable.
Cataract surgery is one of the earliest medical procedures first documented in the 5th Century, B.C. by Babylonian and Indian healers. Numerous advances have improved the treatment since then. The first reported surgical removal of cataracts took place in Paris in 1748.
Another major advance occurred in 1967 when an American physician performed a procedure to remove the lens using only one tiny incision. In recent times, impressive developments including high-tech lens replacement and laser technology have further revolutionized cataract procedures.
The most recent milestone in cataract surgery means patients can see more clearly with even less discomfort, little to no requirement for post-operative eye drops and at a significantly lower cost.
To assist patients with the increasing cost of drops, it required a change.
Recognizing the patients’ need for a more affordable cataract surgery option was the main motive behind Key-Whitman Eye Centers eagerly pursuing the medication formulation required to perform its No-or-Low Drop procedure at its North Texas locations.
“What we’ve seen in the past year and a half is an exponential rise in patient complaints about the rising cost of drops at their pharmacies. Unfortunately, we have no control over those costs, so until recently, we couldn’t do anything to make it better.
We even had patients who would decide not to have cataract surgery, because the eye drops – even generics – were so expensive at the pharmacies. (Drops can range from $400-600 per eye.) Now, patients can have the surgery to improve their vision without breaking the bank,” says Key-Whitman President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D.
The new dropless procedure has been proven safe and effective.
Dr. Whitman heard about the breakthrough early on and subsequently learned the process directly from the surgeon-inventor of the dropless procedure, Jeffrey Liegner, M.D.
“Even though its been making headlines of late, dropless cataract surgery isn’t a brand new thing. We heard great things about the procedure when a number of our colleagues had early access to the formula on a study basis,” Dr. Whitman says.
Because Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactures the formulation, only recently had a pharmacy presence in Texas, Key-Whitman turned to a Dallas compounding pharmacy nine months ago to create the same formula for its practice. Consequently, Key-Whitman was one of the first practices to perform the procedure in North Texas.
According to Dr. Whitman, “We began rolling out the No-or-Low Drop procedure here on a case-by-case basis, and the results have been terrific. Both the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects have been as good or better as what patients experienced with traditional drops, and without the surface irritation some people find with drops.”
Key-Whitman’s No-or-Low Drop approach provides all the benefits of dropless cataract surgery including an option for patients who need some drops.
As Dr. Whitman explains, “The far majority of cataract surgery patients will be a good candidate for the dropless procedure, but for those who are not, we also offer a low or less drop option. The same company that manufactures the medication formulation for the dropless procedure also makes post-operative, all-in-one drops at a much lower cost than the traditional drops. One of the qualities we like about this pharmaceutical company is its consideration for patient costs.”
If you are a candidate for the dropless cataract surgery, your eye surgeon will place the medication in the eye at the end of your cataract surgery.
“It doesn’t take any additional time, and patients don’t feel a thing. The medication slowly dissolves over time, releasing the medication as you need it, so you experience the same effect you would with traditional drops – without the high cost, hassle or surface irritation,” says Dr.Whitman.
If you are NOT a candidate for dropless cataract surgery – not to worry. With the No-or-Low Drop option, the majority of medications are combined into a single formulation, so in many cases, you only insert one drop 3x/day. That’s a major improvement over the traditional treatment of three drops, 3x/day during your recovery period (typically two to three weeks).
Laser technology can enhance your No-or-Low Drop experience even more.
Today, Key-Whitman patients can use state-of-the-art, laser cataract surgery with the femtosecond laser, which permits the eye surgeon to perform steps that were previously done by hand. Consequently, Dr. Whitman finds with his patients there is less invasiveness, higher precision and improved patient outcomes.
Revisit your cataract surgery options today.
If you talked about cataract surgery previously with your eye doctor but put your procedure on hold, you could be very pleased with the new cataract options that are now available. From the latest in technology to lower-cost, less-invasive procedures – great solutions for repairing vision loss are better than ever before.
As Dr. Whitman explains, “Whenever we have the opportunity to remove barriers to patients improving their vision, that’s our goal. With No-or-Low Drop and laser cataract surgery options, we have the best solutions available to help patients look and see better again.”