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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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New Laser Technology Offered to Veterans at MEDVAMC

November 20, 2013

Have you heard about the amazing new technology in our Medical Center’s Eye Care Line?  MEDVAMC physicians are now employing cutting-edge laser technology for military Veterans needing eye surgery.  Last month, the Medical Center obtained a state-of-the-art LenSx image-guided femtosecond laser for Veterans who need cataract surgery.  The new laser, featuring customizable precision incision technology, offers improved safety and accuracy of refractive results in cataract surgery.   Already, several Veterans have benefitted from this new technology and are thrilled with their outcomes.

“I had surgery with this technology a few weeks ago and my vision is so much better!” said Ralph Leigh, an Army veteran from Houston.   “It was painless and fast. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say it’s a 10!”

Another veteran who had surgery a week ago said, “Wow! I haven’t seen this well in years!”

Benito Martinez, an Army veteran from Goliad, Texas, remarked, “Having surgery with the laser was a piece of cake and my vision is absolutely wonderful. It’s better than the vision in my other eye that had cataract surgery a few years ago.”

The medical professionals at MEDVAMC are delighted to offer Veterans this new technology.   “This laser technology really is amazing,” said Dr. Mitchell Weikert.  “As a surgeon, I am always interested in the concept of optimization, which is the continuous improvement of a technique.  This laser allows surgeons to have greater precision in creating incisions and to reduce the energy required to remove even the densest cataracts. Additionally, the laser allows us the opportunity to reduce astigmatism which, in turn, may reduce patients’ reliance on glasses postoperatively.”

With the laser approach to cataract surgery, MEDVAMC surgeons create a precise surgical plan with a sophisticated 3-D image of the eye.  The goal is to create an incision with a specific location, depth and length.  This can be performed exactly with the laser, without the variable of surgeon experience. The laser also creates the opening in the capsule that holds the cataract and then applies laser cuts to fracture the cataract, breaking it up into smaller pieces that are then easily removed with an ultrasound machine in the operating room.

“This new technology is important, not only for accuracy, but also for Veteran safety.” said Dr. Silvia Orengo-Nania, Chief of the Eye Care Line.  “Our ultimate goal is to improve our Veterans’ vision as much as possible in most efficient, quickest and safest way possible.”

Last year approximately 1300 Veterans had cataract surgery at the MEDVAMC.  In 2014, the Medical Center plans to employ the new laser technology to help even more Veterans.

Congratulations to the staff in the Eye Care Line for their efforts in getting this new technology up and running at our Medical Center!