A new surgical device at MDI Hospital for removing cataracts promises even better outcomes for patients and more efficiency for ophthalmologist Timber Gorman, MD when performing the delicate procedure. This state of the art technology is not available at any other facility in eastern Maine.
The OZil® Torsional Handpiece, manufactured by Alcon Laboratories, Inc., is the first of its kind to use an oscillating motion to pulverize the clouded lenses of cataract patients. The side-to-side motion at the tip of the device prevents friction at the incision and ensures more efficient removal of the lens material.
The procedure, which is done on an outpatient basis in the Hospital’s surgical suite, begins with dilation of the pupil and administration of a topical anesthetic to the surface of the eye. An incision of 2.5 to 3 millimeters in length is then created to provide access to the front part of the lens envelope, known as the lens capsule.
The lens capsule is carefully opened so that the clouded lens material can be removed with the OZil®, a needle-like device which pulverizes the hardened and yellowed lens proteins that cause cataracts. The pulverized material is simultaneously vacuumed from the eye.
Prior to the acquisition of the OZil® Dr. Gorman used a device that employed a forward and backward motion to break up the cataract lens. The OZil® Torsional Handpiece is the first in which the tip moves back and forth but the sleeve which extends through the incision remains stationary.
The OZil® handpiece allows Dr. Gorman to switch between side-to-side and the more traditional forward and backward approach that is sometimes necessary for hard cataracts, allowing for greater customization.
Another benefit of the side-to-side motion, explained Dr. Gorman, is that pieces of the cataract lenses that have to be removed are not pushed away from the device, which was the case with the previous device, thus making it easier for Dr. Gorman to remove the lens particles.
“The OZil® enhances my control during surgery,” said Dr. Gorman. “Greater surgical control means even better outcomes and safety than with traditional cataract removal technologies,” she added. “This device is a major improvement for my patients. The care of my patients is of the utmost importance to me as a surgeon. The care they receive at MDI Hospital is excellent as well as personalized. I am thrilled to be able to offer my patients this new technology.”
Various replacement lenses are available to Dr. Gorman’s patients, depending on their specific needs. In 2007, Dr. Gorman began offering the Acrysof Toric IOL, a lens for cataract patients with corneal astigmatism that, for some patients, provides freedom from glasses for distance vision.
Dr. Gorman is a Board certified ophthalmologist as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, New England Ophthalmological Society, Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the Maine Medical Association. She can be reached at Downeast Eye, MD in Trenton, 667-9690.