State-of-the-art eye surgery performed in Valley

September 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A routine eye surgery just became anything but routine with a state-of-the-art technology now offered in the Valley.

The procedure replaces the traditional surgical blade with a precise laser.

73-year-old Ruby Fontes of Easton is ready for a cutting edge procedure with no cutting edge.

"I was having trouble with my left eye. I couldn't read anything on the TV and I was having trouble seeing out of my left eye," Fontes said.

Ruby's doctor, Dr. Eric Poulsen, says while lasers have been used for other eye surgeries, it wasn't full developed for cataract surgery until now.

"That's what's exciting. This is not technology for the future, this is technology we have now," Poulsen said.

Dr.Poulsen says the laser eliminates the need for a blade, used in traditional cataract surgery to make the incision in the eye. That incision is needed to remove the cloudy lens or cataract.

Instead, the patient only needs to have an anesthetic on the eye while the laser "cone" is lowered over the eye to perform the incision.

"Instead of doing it by hand - I mean, I believe I'm a good surgeon, I can do it precisely, but I can't do it as precisely as a laser. I mean, it's unbelievably precise," Poulsen said.

Dr. Poulsen programs the laser to make the exact cuts while the patient is awake but feels no pain.

After the laser procedure, which took just minutes, Ruby was inside the operating room where Dr. Poulsen is removing her cataracts and placing brand new lens implants. He says by tonight she'll have improved vision but tomorrow, she'll be able to see without glasses or contact lenses.

Dr. Poulsen says a patient's corrective vision needs are evaluated to see if they're a candidate for the laser procedure. It's FDA approved and covered by most insurance plans.

Ruby can't wait to see the results.

"It's very precise. It's the cutting edge surgery, it's the best," Fontes said.


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