Innovations in eyecare are showing great promise for treating some of the most stubborn and vexing vision problems for doctors and patients alike.
Among the more noteworthy innovations are corneal inlays, dry eye technologies, and dynamic bidirectional applanation.
Corneal inlays are the solution for a patient population segment that has represented a gap in viable surgical options. For patients between the ages of 45 and 55 who do not want to wear eyeglasses or multifocal contact lenses to correct their farsightedness, doctors have been reluctant to suggest that they undergo standard cataract surgery at such a relatively early age simply to improve their vision.
But this gap in treatment has been closed with the innovation of corneal inlays which are easily implanted and reversible with excellent outcomes confirmed in more than 20,000 procedures. Strategies for corneal inlays include bifocal or refractive lens power, aspheric or refractive lens power, and pinhole-enhanced depth of focus and allows for ocular assessments as well as secondary surgical interventions.
Dry eye technology
Dry eye is one of the most physiologically and psychologically troubling conditions that a patient can experience. The physiological dimension of the problem is being better identified thanks to the innovative diagnostic technology of osmolarity, which renowned eye expert Dr. Clark Chang, OD, MSA, MSc, FAAO, calls “the gold standard in dry eye testing.”
Dr. Clark explains of osmolarity testing: “The good thing is that we no longer have to collect a huge amount of tear volume like we used to in a laboratory setting where you had to collect 5 microleters – because let me tell you, if you can collect 5 microleters, that patient probably doesn’t have dry eye.”
Further, the psychological dimension of this condition is being better understood in terms of the ways that stress can create dry eye by “provoking neurological suppression of lacrimal gland function.” In this sense, dry eye is not seen as a “figment of a patient’s imagination” but rather the physiological embodiment of a triggering psychological stressor.
Eyecare professionals are better recognizing the role of stress in this difficult to treat condition, leading them to address both the physiological and psychological dimensions of dry eye through a combination of approaches that care not only for the symptom but for the emotional experience of the person experiencing it.
Dynamic bidirectional applanation
Ecstasia, or corneal ectasia, is a rare complication of laser-assisted vision surgery (LASIK) that weakens the cornea, causing it to lose its integrity and bulge forward, resulting in visual distortions that cannot be corrected with eyewear.
In order to safeguard against this rare but serious complication, doctors must be able to screen patients who are at greatest risk for this problem.
Corneal biomechanics testing via dynamic bidirectional applanation is an innovation that may provide an answer. By using pulsed air and tracking the time between the cornea’s temporary collapse and resumption of its normal convexity, a doctor can better ascertain the cornea’s viscoelastic properties and thus its strength, radically decreasing a LASIK patient’s chances of post-surgical ecstasia.
At Eyecare 20/20, we make it our business to stay abreast of the latest innovations and advancements that allow us to deliver the safest, most effective, and friendliest eyecare around. Give us a call today for any and all eyecare questions, and together, we’ll help you see the future more clearly!
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