New lens allows for vision correction after cataract surgery

Sanford Bemidji eye patients see the benefits of light adjustable lenses firsthand

New lens allows for vision correction after cataract surgery

A new cataract surgery option is available for eye patients at Sanford Health in Bemidji, Minnesota.

“The exciting thing about this treatment, and this lens in particular, is that we can make an adjustment after the fact,” said Dr. Sam Sant, an optometrist at Sanford Bemidji Eye Center.

Light adjustable lenses

For decades, an intraocular lens implanted during cataract surgery was set as soon as it healed. But for the first time, new light adjustable lenses, or LALs, give patients a chance to tweak their prescription after surgery to create clearer vision than ever before.

In the weeks following surgery, the lenses can be reshaped multiple times with a specific wavelength of UV light. Then when the patient’s vision is as clear as possible, the lenses are “locked in” by the Sanford team.

“(The UV light) manipulates the implant in the eye to a different shape to bend light differently. So it hits the eye as it needs to be in order to have clear vision,” said Dr. Sant. “It’s been really, really neat to see how ecstatic these patients are.”

Vern’s vision

One of those patients is Vern Holzhueter of Bemidji, who has been amazed at the results.

“I needed my glasses all my waking hours. I have since fourth grade. And I really dislike glasses. They’re hot and sweaty in the summer and in winter they steam up,” said Holzhueter.

Now though, he says he can see clearly both near and far. And his biggest adjustment has been breaking the habits he’s had for his whole life.

“When I sit to read the newspaper, I still think I gotta grab my glasses, but I don’t,” Holzhueter said.

Judy’s art

Judy Vasend of McIntosh, Minnesota, also raves about her improved sight. For her, the vision change directly benefitted her business as well. She creates incredibly lifelike baby dolls, and the hand-painting work had become difficult.

“You have to do a lot of detail and that sort of thing. So with my eyes like they were, I had cataracts pretty bad, and they were clouding up so bad that I was redoing (the work) constantly,” said Vasend.

Now her work, just like her vision, has improved. She has seen some other fringe benefits as well.

“I can put mascara on now. I couldn’t do it for 30 years. I could not see my eye to do that,” Vasend said with a laugh. “And my husband said he loves it because he can see my eyes so well again. That’s what drew him to me 53 years ago.”

For Vasend, Holzhueter, and other patients at Sanford Bemidji, the results of their cataract surgery, and the adjustments to their LALs, have improved not just their sight, but their entire lives.

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Posted In Bemidji, Eye Care