First Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery in the Merrimack Valley Performed by Dr. John Lee of Boston Eye Group at Holy Family Hospital’s Andover Surgery Center

New FDA market-cleared laser system makes the cataract procedure highly customized, gentle and significantly more precise than manual surgery

Holy Family Hospital and Dr. John Lee of Boston Eye Group are pleased to share that the first laser-assisted cataract surgery in the Merrimack Valley was performed at the hospital’s Andover Surgery Center. Dr. John Lee of the Boston Eye Group is the first eye surgeon in the Merrimack Valley to perform the laser-assisted eye surgery with the FDA market-cleared laser system called LENSX (Alcon).

“This is a quantum leap for cataract surgery.” said Dr. Lee. “I am very impressed by the ability of the laser to soften hard cataracts.”

Holy Family Hospital is pleased to partner with Dr. John Lee and the Boston Eye Group to bring this breakthrough procedure to the Merrimack Valley,” said Joseph Roach, President of Holy Family Hospital. “Our team at the Andover Surgery Center works closely with medical experts like Dr. Lee to provide patients with access to sophisticated treatment options right here in the Valley, so they can stay close to home and their families.”

Quantum Leap for Cataract Surgery
For decades, cataract surgeons have used handheld instruments to perform some of the most challenging parts of a cataract surgery. The LENSX combines a femtosecond laser, 3D imaging, sophisticated software and a number of other innovative features that make the cataract procedure highly customized, gentle and significantly more precise than manual surgery. The imaging and laser portion of the treatment takes only a few minutes and causes little or no discomfort to patients.

“My experience was great,” said Rose of Methuen, MA. Dr. Lee treated her cataracts using this procedure. “The surgery was painless, my vision is beautiful now and the colors were amazing the next morning. Everyone was so kind and considerate.”

“Eliminating the scalpel from cataract surgery introduces a whole new level of precision,” said Dr. Lee. “This also allows a robotic approach to the surgery which enhances its level of safety.”

How it Works:

  • Tailored Treatment: Every eye has a distinct size and shape. LENSX advanced 3D imaging technology customizes the cataract procedure by building a 3D map of each eye. The surgeon can then automatically tailor the individual patient’s treatment plan to that map. Depending on the patient’s pre-operative vision and desired visual result, treatment could include creating ultra-precise incisions in the cornea and a specific lens type that may ultimately reduce the need for glasses / contacts after surgery.
  • Accuracy: Dr. Lee then uses the new laser creates a circular opening in the capsule that holds the cataract. The goal in this step is to create an opening that is as circular as possible and sized to fit the replacement lens. Clinical studies have shown that laser cataract surgery creates these circular openings approximately 10 times more accurately than those created by hand.
  • New Softening Technique Reduces Inflammation and Allows for a Faster Recovery: The circular opening then allows the surgeon to access and remove the cataract. In the traditional manual procedure, a mechanical instrument and ultrasound energy are used during this step to break up and take out the lens. With the LENSX, the laser softens the cataract and breaks it into tiny pieces. The new softening technique allows for more gentle removal by nearly or completely eliminating the ultrasound energy required. This low-energy approach reduces inflammation, with faster recovery expected.

As a result of this procedure, Rose no longer needs glasses for distance vision. “Before the surgery, my distance vision was not clear. I couldn’t really see people’s eyes because their faces weren’t distinct,” said Rose. “Now, the colors are vibrant and I am able to enjoy and appreciate what I see.”

About Holy Family Hospital
Holy Family Hospital (www.holyfamilyhospital.org) is a 383-bed acute-care hospital with two campuses, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley in Haverhill. Both locations provide comprehensive inpatient, outpatient and 24/7 emergency services to the greater Merrimack Valley, southern New Hampshire and the New Hampshire seacoast. Holy Family Hospital’s Methuen and Haverhill campuses are proud recipients of the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission. Both campuses have also earned “A” Hospital Safety Scores from The Leapfrog Group for their performance on national standards of safety, quality and efficiency. Holy Family Hospital is part of the Steward Health Care Systems LLC, the largest integrated community care organization in New England, which combines over 3,000 physicians, 11 acute care hospitals, managed care, insurance programs, home care, an imaging operation, and a number of other post acute services, to provide the most cost effective and highest quality of integrated patient care.

About Boston Eye Group
Boston Eye Group (www.bostonlaser.com) is an academic private practice at the vanguard of eye and patient service. The practice’s dedication to research, education and innovation are embodied in cutting-edge experimental studies, the publication of findings in medical journals and textbooks, and successful surgical breakthroughs. Boston Eye Group operates locally and worldwide, serving New England from its two main Massachusetts offices in Brookline and Lawrence and in affiliation with major hospitals and health care systems in the Boston area.

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