Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans over the age of 40, and are a leading cause of blindness, worldwide. A new portable device for cataract removal is speeding recovery time and may make the procedure available to patients in countries where there have been very few treatment options.
Beverly Mims’ vision problems started in her fifties and got progressively worse.
“When I started to read I’d have to hold the paper up above,” Mims said.
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Magazine print that once was clear, was just a blur. Mims had cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye. Traditionally, doctors have used a laser probe to break up the cataract.
“It’s almost like having a stone in your eye and breaking that up sometimes requires a lot of energy. That energy is not good for the eye,” said Sean Ianchulev, MD, MPH, Director of the Ophthalmic Innovation and Technology Program at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.
Harvard-trained Dr. Ianchulev helped develop a new device to more easily remove the cloudy lens. It’s called MiLoop.
He explained, “It’s a microthin filament that is actually memory shaped. You can unfold it and go through a two-millimeter incision. When you retract the button, you actually cut the cataract immediately.”
For Mims, the removal was so quick, the procedure was over before she realized the doctor had started.
“I called my husband and said he’s finished. My husband said ‘finished? Did he cancel? What did you do?’ I said I didn’t do anything. He’s finished,” Mims said.
Because the device is portable and doesn’t require heat or vibration. Dr. Ianchulev used it on recent humanitarian trips to Panama and Ethiopia. Restoring vision to patients around the world …
And here at home.
Mims had her left eye done first and is scheduled to have a cataract removed from the right. She had clear vision almost immediately after the procedure.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field and Supervising Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.