Treating Cataracts: A New Laser on the Horizon
(HealthNewsDigest.com) – New York, NY, — A new laser therapy that can potentially remove cataracts from people’s eyes more efficiently and with greater precision was presented on October 24, 2009, at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting. The technology, which is being tested in clinical trials, was developed by LenSar, a start-up company which is in head-to-head competition with two other players to be the first to commercialize the technology and start treating patients.
It is commonly believed that cataract surgeries, which totaled more than three million procedures in the U.S. last year, are already being done with a laser device. In fact, doctors are currently using a technology created in the mid 1970s by famous eye surgeon Dr. Charles Kelman, based on a sonic dental cleaner, which doctors use to manually scrub the milky substance off patient’s eyes. That may soon change since the new laser device shows promising results in treating cataracts.
Dr. Joseph Dello Russo, a New York laser eye surgeon who pioneered LASIK treatments and was part of the original team of doctors who performed the clinical trials of laser eye surgery, is affiliated with LenSar, whose results were recently published in the September issue of the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Dr. Dello Russo said, “We are very excited with the results we have gotten so far and hope that this technology will change people’s lives the way LASIK has done so.”
LenSar was formed in 2004 by scientist Randy Frey, Ph.D., Dr. Joseph Dello Russo, and a special team of proven eye professionals. The same wavelength laser as the IntraLase laser is used in a device developed by Randy Frey, Ph.D. to alter the natural lens of the eye. A couple of years ago, the company began to safely but partially treat human eyes with the laser in trials outside the U.S. After about 100 eye treatments, the research group has reached some positive results. Further research and development efforts are currently underway.
Dr. Joseph Dello Russo has built a name for himself for identifying and supporting new eye treatment technologies. In 2000, he invested in a new type of laser that replaced the blade previously used in LASIK. Dello Russo was intrigued by a start-up company called IntraLase of San Diego, California. Not only did he lend money to keep the company afloat for most of that year but he also ordered the very first two successful commercial lasers machines IntraLase made and had them sent to his New York and New Jersey offices in 2002.
Dello Russo has been first in recognizing other emerging ophthalmic technologies. He was the first to purchase the laser used for LASIK in 1989 and the first to recognize the advance in LASIK laser technology known as the ATC laser, which was also developed by the same scientist, Randy Frey, Ph.D. “I always keep my nose to the ground sniffing out what new device might be out there that needs a little extra push. I enjoy finding a possible new emerging technology, latching onto it, and then helping to launch it to benefit the world’s patients,” says Dr. Dello Russo.