New diagnostic technology helps justify earlier cataract surgery

Fairfax, VA — A study published today in the August edition of the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery reports that wavefront technology, a new way of measuring how vision is distorted by irregularities in the eye, offers a widely accepted means for corroborating cataract patients' vision complaints, which may lead to earlier treatment with attendant enhanced patient safety and less loss of quality of life.

The study, Higher-Order Aberrations of Lenticular Opacities, by N. Sachdev, S. Ormonde, T. Sherwin, and C. McGhee, found that different types of cataracts produced identifiable and repeatable results using wavefront diagnostic equipment. These results could explain the significant visual symptoms in patients with early cataracts that the most commonly used vision test does not demonstrate. The study was performed at the Departments of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland and the Auckland Public Hospital in New Zealand.

The significance of this study is that it shows wavefront testing can be used to accurately measure the visual errors that show up as glare and other problems that cataract patients experience. This will give insurance companies a reliable and widely accepted means of testing for the effects of cataracts on patients' vision and for making reliable determinations of the medical need for a cataract operation. Its impact on patient welfare is that it can reduce the number of patients who are unable to receive early treatment because alternative testing means are inadequate or not widely accepted.

Cataracts and their treatment

Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, and cataract surgery is among the most common surgical procedures in people over 65 years of age in the United States. Last year, 2,775,000 procedures were performed in the U.S. (one procedure = one eye). A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear, natural crystalline lens of th

Contact: Samuel Masket, MD
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

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