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After cataract surgery, there are two main issues we try to control: preventing infection and controlling inflammation.  Traditionally, we prescribed antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection, as well as steroid eye drops to control post-operative inflammation. But eye drops can be hard for some patients to put into their eyes. Now we have some alternatives to using drops after surgery.   

There are some antibiotic solutions we can place inside the eye at the end of the cataract surgery that have been shown in most studies to do as good or better a job preventing infection as using antibiotic eye drops before and after surgery.

The FDA approved steroid delivery methods to reduce post-operative inflammation that have the potential to eliminate post-op steroid eye drops in most (but not all) patients who are undergoing cataract surgery. Two of these products are called Dexycu and Dextenza.

Dexycu is a white bolus of steroid medication that is injected inside the eye after cataract surgery. It will not be visible in most patients because it is injected behind the iris, or the colored part of the eye.  It sometimes doesn’t stay behind the iris and you might see a small white dot in the eye initially after surgery.  It is a sustained-released medication, which is absorbed over a couple of weeks and replaces the need for post-operative steroid drops.  

Dextenza is a white pellet that is inserted into the lower punctum of the lid, which is the small opening for the drainage of tears. This insert is designed to deliver medication for up to 30 days.  It is slowly absorbed and doesn't need to be removed. Similarly, it is usually not visible and does not cause any discomfort.

If you have either a Dexycu or Dextenza implant placed and an antibiotic medication is injected inside the eye after surgery, then you may be drop free after surgery. The main difference between the two steroid injections is that Dexycu is injected inside the eye while Dextenza is deposited outside the eye.  For each of these newer options there is a chance that in your particular case there may still be too much inflammation and you might need to take eye drops for a while, but the majority of the time you would not need drops.

If you are going to have cataract surgery and would like to be drop free after the procedure, then ask your surgeon if you would be a candidate for a steroid implant.

Article contributed by Dr. Jane Pan.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

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What can be expected during a contact lens fitting?

A patient can expect to have a different experience when having a contact lens fitting. In addition to the eyeglass exam, questions will be asked to determine which contact lens will work best for them. Will they want to leave the lenses in their eyes overnight or will they remove them every day? Will they wear them only occasionally or will they be for everyday use? Do they want a contact lens that they throw away every day or do they want a contact lens that they have to clean and disinfect? If the patient is over age 40 and has a compromised ability to see up close, how will they see up close with their contact lenses? Will they wear readers over their distant contacts, or will they wear multifocal contacts, or will they wear monovision?

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Experiencing dry eye symptoms is more common as we grow older, particularly in people 50 years of age and older. Hormonal changes in women who are experiencing menopause or who are post-menopausal. Inflammation in our body can affect the tear gland's ability to produce tears. Eye or health conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's Syndrome can be associated with Dry Eyes. Environmental conditions such as dry winter air, dry indoor heated air, working on the computer, and wearing contact lenses can cause Dry Eyes.

Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?

Single-use daily wear contacts are convenient to the patient and a healthy recommendation from their eye doctor. At the end of the day, the patient only has to dispose of the contacts. There is no need to take the contacts out to clean and disinfect them. The patients time and money spent on solutions and caring for them are eliminated. Not to mention that the next time they wear a contact, they will be wearing a brand new contact! The single best recommendation your eye doctor can make is to recommend single-use daily wear contacts. They are the healthiest contact that can be worn. The contact lens pathology issues of wearing the same contact for two or four weeks such as neovascularization, microcystic edema, and bacterial infections are greatly reduced.

What is an eye infection?

Your eyes can get infections from bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Eye infections can occur in different parts of the eye and can affect just one eye or both. Two common eye infections are conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) and lid styes which are swollen lid bumps that can also be painful. Common signs of an eye infection are pain, itching, or a sensation of a foreign body in the eye, photosensitivity, redness or small red lines in the white of the eye, discharge of yellow pus that may be crusty upon awaking, and tears.

What happens during a typical Diabetic Eye Exam?

Your Eye Doctor will evaluate the back of your eye called the Retina to check for leaking blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when elevated blood sugars damage the walls of the blood vessels. The vessel walls may thicken, leak, develop clots, close off, or grow balloon-like defects called microaneurysms.

My eyes tear all the time. Why do you call it Dry Eyes?

Your eyes have extra tears because your eyes produce extra tears to combat irritation and dryness. A better way to describe Dry Eyes is tear film instability, which refers to the composition of your tears not being in the proper composition. Stopping eyes from producing extra tears is a goal in the treatment of Dry Eyes.

At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?

If you ask 10 different Doctors you will get 10 different answers. Newborns have their eyes checked in the birthing ward for starters. From birth to age 5 their eyes are growing. At age 5 is a good time to schedule a regular eye examination, however, if any unusual eye behavior is observed under age 5 an eye exam should be scheduled at that time. Unusual eye behavior such as eye squinting, a head tilt, or having to get close to see.