Your Health: 12-06-12 Alabama's first laser cataract surgery - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health: 12-06-12 Alabama's first laser cataract surgery

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This is good news for people who want to be free from wearing eye glasses.

Some local ophthalmologists now offer an all new, blade-free laser cataract surgery.

It's a first of its kind in Alabama.

As Linda Mays reports, it's mapped out to give cataract patients exactly what they want.

Kendrick Ford wants to be free from eye glasses.

An astigmatism or unnatural curve on the eye first lead to him wearing glasses at age 45.

 Ford says, "If I'm reading a newspaper, I can read. I'm fine, if it's anything at a distance.  My eyes start burning."

Now the 62 year old retiree has a new diagnosis of cataracts.   Let untreated a person can lose all vision.

This is how ophthalmologist, Dr. Mark Bearman explains using this eye model.

 Bearman says, "The lens of your eye is behind the iris which is the brown. A clear lens looks clear.  If you have a cataract, a bad cataract, it looks cloudy and you obvious can't see through it.

 More than three million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the United States.  It's one of the most common procedures worldwide.

Dr. Mark Bearman is among a group of doctors that is now first in Alabama to offer blade-free, surgical laser cataract surgery.

This is the high-tech LenSx femtosecond laser designed to perform refractive cataract surgery with precision.

The procedure involves replacing the eye's cloudy natural lens with an artificial lens implant.

 Bearman says, "What this laser does is take out some of the possibility of surgical error.  It improves both quality and precision of all of our incisions. And It does the first part of the cataract surgery for us, which I think are some of the more difficult to perform manually."

The LenSx laser uses 3-D image guided technology that maps the patient's eye and etches exact incisions.

Bearman says tradition cataract surgery was performed manually by the surgeon using a blade for all incisions.   They take the cataract out and put an implant in its place.

Dr. Bearman says with this pupil dilated it will tear out the wrapper, cut cataract into quadrants, remove the cataract in pieces then the implant goes into the wrapper.

Dr. Bearman says, "When we go into the eye which we still have to do through the laser incisions, we can remove hard nucleus, less energy we apply to the eye ,makes for clearer vision day one and safer results."

The Lensx cataract surgery takes only 10 to 15 minutes.  It's typically done using local anesthesia with the patient sedated, but awake.   The possible risks include infection.

 However, Bearman says the LenSx will make all cataract surgeons, better surgeons and make an already safe operation , safer. Plus there are now more implants or artificial lens available to help correct the patient's vision.

 Bearman says, "See up close, far away , correct astigmatism. This laser can deliver."

No glasses and better eye sight. Kendrick Ford, looks forward to doing the things he enjoys most and completing a honey do list, with glasses getting in the way.

 Ford says, "They're a pain because you're working on something they go up you're working outside. It would be nice to not have glasses again.

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