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Williamson Eye Center: New Technologies in Healthcare

Williamson Eye Center: New Technologies in Healthcare

Created on: Monday, October 09, 2017
Author: Williamson Eye Center

Ophthalmology is one of the most technologically advanced specialties in all of medicine. There is constant innovation within this space, with new devices and treatments coming out each quarter. Luckily, residents of south Louisiana have access to these advancements faster than most around the United States.

This is because the Williamson Eye Center has been at the forefront of pioneering new technology for decades. Oftentimes when scientists and medical device companies in the ophthalmology community are looking to launch a device in Louisiana they come to Williamson Eye because they trust the skill and expertise of our doctors. Here, we highlight some modern technology that has revolutionized the vision correction, glaucoma and dry eye industries. These innovations have led to a reduced need for glasses and contacts, a reduced need for dry eye and glaucoma drops, better vision, and better quality of life.


Age 18-45: Modern wavefront guided bladeless all-laser iLASIK

Despite many common myths, modern laser vision correction can now be safely performed in patients with farsightedness, nearsightedness, thin corneas and astigmatism. We see many patients who were told they were not a LASIK candidate, only to find out they were all along with today’s technology. Remember that the LASIK of today has about as much in common with the LASIK of the ’90s as your cell phone has in common with your cell phone in the ’90s.

A recent peer-reviewed study, one of the largest of its kind, showed that with modern LASIK over 90% of patients are 20/20 or better and nearly 99% of patients were satisfied with their results! At Williamson Eye, we only perform customized bladeless all-laser iLASIK, as opposed to old mechanical blades that were used in decades past and are still utilized in discount LASIK centers.

Using an all laser approach leads to better precision, accuracy and safety. The wavefront guided technology which has revolutionized the procedure takes into account all the internal aberrations of the patient’s eye, yielding a truly customized treatment for that individual. This procedure is painless, takes only minutes and is one of the safest elective procedures performed in the U.S.

Age 40-59: Raindrop inlay

Ever wonder why you’ve seen well your whole life but once you hit 40 reading close up has become difficult without the help of glasses? This is because you have developed dysfunctional lens syndrome. Everyone will develop dysfunctional lens syndrome at some stage. The good news is that ophthalmology now has safe technology to correct this problem and get you seeing without reading glasses again.

The Raindrop corneal inlay was recently approved by the FDA, and the Williamson Eye Center was the first in Louisiana to implant the device. The Raindrop is a microscopic, nearly invisible disc made mostly of water that is placed underneath a corneal flap. The Raindrop causes the shape of the cornea to change, which provides more focusing ability at near range. This procedure is painless and can be completed in minutes. It can also be combined with LASIK surgery to enhance both distance and near vision.

Age 55 and up: LASER cataract surgery and the Symfony lens

The bad news is that everyone will develop cataracts at some point if they are blessed to live long enough. The good news is there has never been a better time to have cataract surgery, with the advent of the femtosecond laser and advanced lens implants. Using these new technologies your surgeon can not only correct your cataract, but they can correct your astigmatism and dysfunctional lens syndrome too. This means we can now correct your vision and reduce the need for bifocals and reading glasses after surgery.

We accomplish this by performing the most pivotal steps of the procedure using a laser instead of performing them by hand using blades. The result is a more precise, reproducible and gentler procedure with faster visual recovery. After your surgeon removes the cataract you must replace it with a clear lens. 

These days you have a choice about what type of implant goes in your eye, and you can customize your vision much like you could customize a new vehicle. The newest lens classification approved by the FDA is the extended-depth-of-focus Symfony lens. The first Symfony lens in Louisiana was implanted by surgeons at the Williamson Eye Center, and we are also one of the highest volume laser cataract centers in the U.S.


Cypass and Xen stents

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in the U.S. For many years the only options patients had for therapy were either costly drops or invasive surgeries that had many complications. A new era in the treatment of glaucoma has been ushered in with the advent of “minimally invasive glaucoma surgery” or “MIGS.”

All of health care is moving toward more minimally invasive approaches, and ophthalmology is no different. Just like cardiologists have used stents to avoid more invasive heart surgeries, eye surgeons are now placing stents inside the eye to delay the need for more complicated procedures. Two stents approved by the FDA this year were the Cypass and the Xen. Our surgeons were the first in south Louisiana to implant these devices and have been able to reduce or in many cases eliminate the need for our patients to take daily glaucoma medications. These stents can be placed at the same time as cataract surgery and have an excellent safety profile compared to older, more traditional glaucoma surgeries. 


MiBo Flo and BlephEx

Dry eye disease is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in ophthalmology. This is because many patients are unaware that they don’t necessarily need to “feel dry” in order to have the disease. In fact, more than half our patients with dry eye disease don’t experience a feeling of dryness … instead they experience teary or watery eyes. This is because when the eye is dry it signals the brain to stimulate the glands that produce tears.

The most common symptom of dry eye disease is simply fluctuating vision, and it seems to affect the majority of patients we see in our clinic. For many years all we had to offer were artificial tears. That is until recent research has taught us that one of the main causes of dry eye is actually Meibomian gland disease, an inflammatory condition that effects the oils our eyelid glands normally secrete to protect our tear film. Healthier eyelid glands lead to healthier tear film.

Two new devices called the BlephEx and MiBo Flo have been utilized in our clinic to clean the eyelids and offer our dry eye patients a more lasting improvement in their symptoms. The procedure is performed by our eyelid hygienist and is non-surgical, quick and completely painless. Many of our patients actually comment that it feels like a massage on the eyelids. Just like you visit your dentist yearly for cleanings, patients with dry eye disease should be visiting their eye doctor to have their eyelids cleaned annually. 

—Dr. Blake K. Williamson, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.

Featured in Business Report's 'What's New in Healthcare' 2017 edition.  

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