BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Cataract surgery can be common as we age. Having cataracts removed can save your vision. However, recovering from the procedure can be inconvenient, and sometimes costly.
But, there’s a new option available that could save a patient a lot of hassle and possibly money.
Maitland Edwards of Lakeville knows about it first-hand.
It was a freeway exit sign that alerted him – and his wife – that he needed cataract surgery. Edwards said, “I couldn’t see it until I was under it. She got quite concerned. She said, ‘I’m not driving with you anymore.'”
But now, Edwards is back in the driver’s seat after having a new procedure called dropless cataract surgery at Chu Vision Institute. “There’s some real measurable benefits to not having to deal with drops,” he explained.
From his surgery center in Bloomington, Dr. Ralph Chu said, “To me this is one of the most exciting things that’s happened in cataract surgery.”
He said with dropless cataract surgery, instead of patients having to put drops in their eyes up to two months after surgery, a special medication made up of an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory is injected into the eye during surgery, behind the new replacement lens.
Said Chu, “There’s a little pocket there sort of a space that’s generated and the medicine just sits in there and gets resorbed over the first few weeks after surgery.”
Drops can be tough for patients with arthritis, tremors or living in a nursing home. There is also added cost, especially for those in nursing homes, who have to have someone else administer the drops for them.
Dropless reduces the risk of infection and the cost.
It has only been around about a year so there is no insurance billing code. That’s why Dr. Chu said at Chu Vision Institute, there is no cost for the injection to the patient. He said it is absorbed by the surgery center.
“Once they get the injection, 95% of patients are able to be drop-free after surgery.”
Edwards actually is one of the few that has an advanced technology lens so while he had the pocket of medication in his eye, he still had to do some drops, but not nearly as many as he would have.
He said with a smile, “I can’t tell you how pleased I am.”