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MedWatch: New Cataract Surgery

Being able to see is a gift, and for many it’s fleeting.

So many rely on glasses or contacts to be able to live their life and, as they age, cataracts can become an issue.

But now corrective cataract surgery is more accurate than ever and it’s available to more patients.

Michelle Dunaway and chief photojournalist Corey Adkins meet a patient whose vision was restored in this month’s MedWatch report.

“It’s a new experience to be able to look down the road and be able to see signs, street signs, and be able to read the signs without wearing my glasses.”

Gary Smith is celebrating his sight after cataracts started clouding his vision.

“I was at a point where I could hardly read the signs with my glasses. Now, I can read them without my glasses,” explained Gary.

He lives in Frederic and was a candidate for a cutting-edge surgery brand new to .

“In terms of cataract surgery, I believe this is the latest and greatest,” said Daniel St. Aubin, M.D.

Ophthalmologist Daniel St. Aubin says cataracts are very common, especially as we age.

“Inside of our eye, we all have a natural lens and, over time, that lens becomes cloudy for many reasons: UV light from the sun, aging, medications we take,” explained Dr. St. Aubin. “Cataract surgery is when we remove that cloudy lens and implant a crystal clear lens in its place.”

The new ORA gives the surgeon a better idea of just how strong those new lenses need to be.

“Traditionally in cataract surgery, it’s not uncommon to need a pair of glasses after our procedures. With the ORA technology, we are able to increase the accuracy of the lens we place in the eye to become more independent of glasses after the surgery,” said Dr. St. Aubin.

Before this, doctors had to rely on a pre-operative eye exam, which isn’t always the most accurate.

“With the ORA, we’re able to take measurements of the eye while we’re doing surgery to help us determine which lens will be the best fit for the patient,” explained Dr. St. Aubin.

The technology is especially effective for patients who’ve had Lasik surgery, those who’ve had a very strong prescription and some who may have a different eye shape.

Gary was one of the first patients in line for the new ORA technology in Grayling, and he was admittedly nervous.

“I’m a reader. I love to read, so anything that interferes with my eyes causes some tension to build up. So I went in knowing that everything was probably going to be fine, but I still had that on the other hand it could be a little worse. So going into surgery, I went in anticipating the best knowing it could be less than that,” said Gary.

And in the end, he was glad he did.

“It was almost immediate that same day I had vision that was much better than I had in years, and by the next day the vision had improved to a point that was better than anything I can ever remember in my life,” explained Gary.

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