Australians living with cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s lens which leads to a decrease in vision, are set to benefit from the launch of a new treatment option that will allow patients to experience high-quality vision at intermediate and far distances.
The treatment involves surgically replacing a patient’s own eye lens with a monofocal intraocular lens (IOL) known as the TECNIS Eyhance® IOL. This IOL, which was recently listed on the Australian Government’s Prostheses List on 1 July 2019, is an important first for the monofocal IOL category, as the traditional monofocal lens only corrects a patient’s vision at a distance.
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Cataract is the leading cause of blindness and has been found to be responsible for 51 per cent of vision loss and 33 per cent of visual impairment globally. The burden of cataracts in Australia is projected to grow as a result of its ageing population and by 2021, 2.74 million Australians aged 50 years or older are expected to be diagnosed with age-related cataract. For cataract patients, vision impairment can affect their ability to live independently and places them at risk of injury from falls.
Although the condition is prevalent in Australia and across the rest of the world, cataracts are treatable with effective surgical procedures. With the progress made in treatment options, the number of cataract surgeries performed worldwide is climbing and patient outcomes after surgery are also improving. In Australia, cataract surgery is the most common elective surgical procedure[vii], with a surgical rate of 8,000 per million.
While cataracts are treatable, those living with the condition were still required to make a trade-off between their near and far vision with previous treatment options, according to Dr. Con Moshegov, ophthalmologist and Medical Director, George Street Eye Centre in Sydney, Australia.
Dr. Moshegov, who was the first surgeon to carry out the implantation of TECNIS Eyhance® IOL in Australia, said that while patients were able to have corrected vision at a distance, they still needed to rely on glasses for near and intermediate activities, which include day-to-day tasks such as computer and desk work. “This new monofocal lens will give patients the option of wearing glasses less often after their surgery, an option that was not available to them before,” he added.
Post-surgery outcomes have also shown that most patients can perform certain activities with greater ease, such as night-time driving, walking on uneven surfaces and engaging in activities of personal interest1.
Christoph Vonwiller, regional vice-president, Surgical, Asia Pacific & Japan, Johnson & Johnson Vision – whose company developed the new IOL – said, “Johnson & Johnson Vision is committed to advancing eye health, and we are proud to deliver another meaningful solution for patients with cataracts. We will continue to work with eye care professionals to connect cutting-edge insights, science and technology to preserve and enhance sight for life.”