By Amir Arbisser, M.D., Eye Surgeons Associates
of people around the world live with cataracts, which is typically an
age-related condition in which the eye’s lens becomes progressively
cloudy. It makes vision fuzzy or filmy, and normal daily living
activities more difficult. To restore clear vision, the cataract must be
surgically removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens
implant (IOL). Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures
worldwide, estimated at 19 million cases each year, according to a 2011
Market Scope Report.*
Eye Surgeons Associates has proudly
restored vision to tens of thousands of Quad City area residents for
over three decades. We have introduced the most advanced techniques to
the region such as outpatient surgery, topical (no shot) anesthesia,
suture-free incisions, and phacoemulsification.
cataract surgery uses hand held instruments. A blade cuts the
self-sealing incision in the clear cornea and manual forceps grasp and
fashion a circle opening in the bag of the cataract. An instrument
working like a microscopic jackhammer breaks up the cataract with sound
waves to allow the cloudy lens material to be vacuumed out of the eye.
Finally, the surgeon implants a monofocal (one focus) intraocular lens
(IOL) into the cleaned bag of the now removed cataractous lens. Medical
insurance and/or Medicare covers the traditional cataract surgery and
standard monofocal (one focus) IOLs. The goal of traditional cataract
surgery is to restore your best vision in glasses, which will still be
required for most, if not all, daily tasks.
Advanced Technology Treatment Options
Advanced technology treatment options can reduce or eliminate your
dependence upon glasses or contacts following cataract surgery whether
you have astigmatism, you’re nearsighted, farsighted and/or presbyopic.
ESA surgeons first introduced Advanced Technology IOLs enabling patients
to see at multiple distances (multifocal and accomodating IOLs) to the
Quad City’s 15 years ago. Astigmatism correcting implants (Toric IOLs)
were introduced, when first approved, about 10 years ago. We’ve been
surgically enhancing the eye’s optical system through refractive corneal
and cataract surgery for over 20 years. However, like LASIK, the cost
of upgrading to Advanced Technology Treatment with Refractive Vision
Correction is not covered by Medicare or private insurance and is
After carefully monitoring the international development of the
femtosecond laser for refractive cataract procedures, Spring Park
Surgery Center in partnership with Eye Surgeons Associates and Genesis
are the first to acquire a femtosecond laser and introduce laser
refractive cataract surgery, when done with Advanced Technology
Treatment Options, to the Quad Cities region. Over two hundred thousand
laser cataract surgeries have now been successfully performed worldwide.
Our CatalysTM Precision Laser System is the first device of its kind
between Chicago and Des Moines.
Dr. Lisa Brothers Arbisser,
certified on the Catalys laser, comments, “Despite the thousands of
surgeries I have done over my three decade career there is no way a
human being can be as consistent and accurate as a computer guided
laser, which gives us the best odds to get each patient to their ideal
Every eye has a distinct size and shape. CATALYS’ advanced 3D
imaging technology customizes the cataract procedure by building a 3D
map of each eye. The surgeon then tailors the individual patient’s
treatment plan to that map.
Next, we use CATALYS to create a circular
opening in the capsule that holds the cataract. The goal in this step
is to create an opening that is as circular as possible and sized to fit
the replacement lens. As reported in the Journal of Cataract &
Refractive Surgery, clinical studies have shown that CATALYS creates
these circular openings approximately 10 times more accurately than
those created by hand.*
The circular opening then allows the
surgeon to access and remove the cataract. The CATALYS laser softens the
cataract and breaks it into tiny pieces. The new softening technique
allows for more gentle removal with significantly less ultrasound energy
than is used in the traditional surgery, as described in Ophthalmology
The precision of these steps, especially the
construction of the circular opening, sets the stage for the surgeon to
position the replacement lens. Lens positioning is especially important
with advanced technology lenses, which demand a level of precision,
accuracy, and customization that traditional manual surgery can only
attempt to provide.
“There is evidence that not only the
consistent size and centration of the opening but possibly an effect of
the laser on the cells causes the opening to remain stable as it heals,
leading to a more predictable and clear opening which in turn leads to a
more predictable and stable vision without glasses for more patients”
said Dr. Lisa.
Robert Jacobsen from Le Claire, IA who had Toric
lenses implanted using the CATALYS laser comments, “The surgery went
very well. The laser was painless and done in seconds. My vision was so
poor I couldn’t get to 20/20 in glasses anymore. It’s only been a couple
of days, but I’m seeing much better — especially my distance vision.”
The CATALYS Precision Laser System was developed by global
ophthalmic company OptiMedica Corp. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) in close
collaboration with a Medical Advisory Board of cataract surgery experts
from around the world. Dr. Lisa Arbisser is a member of the board.
The OptiMedica CatalysTM Precision Laser System is indicated for
anterior capsulotomy and laser phacofragmentation during cataract
surgery. The anterior capsulotomy and phacofragmentation procedures may
be performed either individually or consecutively during the same
surgery. Contraindications, warnings, precautions, and adverse events
will be reviewed prior to consent.
Dr. Amir Arbisser, a founder
of Eye Surgeons Associates, is board-certified with a fellowship in
Pediatric Ophthalmology. Eye Surgeons Associates, established in 1983,
offers a comprehensive range of eye care services to Western Illinois
and Eastern Iowa.
*Sources available upon request.
“I was apprehensive, but the surgery went great. Dr.
Lisa went over it before we began and the anesthesiologist walked me
through it. The laser was painless and over before it began. My vision
is great. I’ve had no side effects. They gave me a prescription for
glasses to use at night, if needed, but I haven’t had to use them.”
– Rebecca Andresen from Eldridge, IA
Ms. Andresen had blended vision with Toric lenses implanted using the CATALYSTM laser.