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Through a new lens

Clear vision close to home

Cataract surgery, one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, is available locally at the Phillips Eye Institute of Buffalo Hospital. While cataracts are not preventable, treatment via surgery is a safe, routine option to improve cloudy, dim, or blurry vision.

“The average age for cataract surgery is 70, but all of us will get cataracts eventually,”says Dr. Angela Oster, an ophthalmologist with West Metro Ophthalmology, P.A. and Vice Chief of Surgery, who practices in Buffalo. “Usually patients will come in, noticing their vision has changed. The right time for surgery with each patient is different.”

As the eyes age, the natural lens becomes cloudy, interfering with light passing through to the retina. Surgery breaks up the cataract and replaces the lens, allowing vision to be restored. The same-day surgery uses no shots or incisions, and requires no stitches. Patients go home with prescription eye drops to use for about a month following surgery. One eye procedure is done at a time, allowing six to eight weeks of healing time.

“The staff and team at the Buffalo Hospital have been trained at the same levels as those at the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, so we can offer the same advanced surgery services and care as we can in the Twin Cities,” continues Oster. “The staff is dedicated to their patients, and dedicated to their community.”

Now,ophthalmologists in Buffalo are able to use an advanced cataract procedure,called femtosecond laser surgery, to treat cataracts. The procedure has been available in the Twin Cities for the past few years, and the hospital is excited to bring the option to Buffalo.

This technology uses a laser to obtain a more precise, detailed view of your eye and assist the surgery. It allows doctors to extract the cataract and ensure an accurate placement of a new customized lens, potentially eliminating the use for eyewear altogether. Nationwide, 20 to 30% of patients elect to use laser-assisted technology in cataract surgery. Femtosecond laser surgery is not currently covered by insurance.

“The administration at this hospital has been really good about bringing specialists out and supplying us with the same advanced equipment and techniques we can do in the cities,” says Oster. “They are committed to providing that same excellent advanced care here that we do at Phillips Eye Institute.”