Advances in Cataract Surgery and the Future of Eye Care

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Children and infants can actually develop cataracts or be born with cataracts, congenital cataract, and so opacification of the lens is something that can be seen through life. Nevertheless, it's one of the those things where if we're around long enough, we will develop a cataract, and so there are certain types that are seen earlier in life but certainly as a fairly common and virtually universal aging experience, cataracts will develop.

Generally speaking, we think of cataracts as becoming significant when they affect visual function quality of life. Early cataracts can do anything from create glare, light scatter, and discomfort under very specific condition such as driving a car at night, or one might finds simply that there's a general loss in contrast and in overall quality of vision.

What's really changed tremendously over the last few years is the safety and the predictability of cataract surgery. And this has come along with significant advances in the instrumentation use to remove cartaracts from the eye with the training and the consistency of the training of young surgeons and very valuably in the development of the intraoculor lens in plants that are placed in the eye at the time of cataract to allow people to to achieve good functional distance with minimal dependence on glasses.

With the development of very small probes that were able to liquify the lens with ultrasound and with the subsequent development of intraocular lens implants that could be folded and placed through a very small incision in the eye. All of a sudden we were able to remove cataract with minimal changes in the shape and in the pressure in the eye and with minimal trauma to the wall of the eye and with remarkably fast visual recovery because of the relatively small incisions that we make.

We have tremendous opportunities in terms of diagnostics because I think that we have a lot of therapeutic options that if we can get them out there earlier, then that's a real potential for [xx] individual. This is one of those areas where advances in molecular biology and understanding the pathophysiology of disease has directly led to a pharmacologic development and intervention that has had significant positive impact on disease course and on the people who suffer from this disease..