CHICAGO, IL (September 22, 2014) – The Loretto Hospital Ophthalmologist
Dr. Mark J. Benjamin advanced to the frontline in cataract surgery by
performing Loretto’s first dropless cataract surgery on Tuesday,
Sept. 16, making him the first doctor in Illinois to utilize the new dropless
cataract technology, according to Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, the San Diego,
CA, company that formulated the medication.
“At The Loretto Hospital, we recognize the importance of keeping our
community healthy, not just when they are in our care but when they are
discharged from the hospital. Having one of our own ophthalmologists utilize
this new cutting edge cataract technology helps us ensure that Loretto
is truly delivering better standards, better care and better outcomes
to the communities we serve,” CEO and Chief Medical Officer Dr.
Sonia Mehta said.
The new dropless technique has gained wide acceptance among ophthalmologists
across the United States -- and a seemingly preferred method rather than
conventional cataract surgery. On June 4, 2014, Imprimis published the
results of a survey comprising 21 leading cataract surgeons. Of the 21
physicians surveyed, 95% preferred administering Imprimis’ single
intraocular injection post cataract surgery.
Dr. Benjamin, who also prefers the use of Imprimis’ dropless cataract
injectable medication on patients, said he was motivated to do this surgery
at Loretto because of its underprivileged patient population. “I
believe our patients can benefit from this procedure because it is cost
effective for them, while also ridding them of the bane of postoperative
eye drops,” Dr. Benjamin said.
Without a doubt, technological advances surrounding cataract surgery has
been astounding. The dropless cataract surgery calls for a single injection
of a compound formulation comprised of two potent antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory
medication blend that is injected into the vitreous (a jelly-like substance
inside the eye), just near the retina literally seconds after the cataract
surgery is performed.
The advantages of the innovative method includes: it is cost effective
because it eliminates the need for prescription eye drops after surgery,
refills and even co-payment required at the pharmacy; it eliminates compliance
issues because it inoculates patients against possible infections; and
the convenience is immense for doctors and office staff because it alleviates
the time physicians have to spend instructing patients on how to properly
use the eye drops.
Although dropless cataract surgery has been around since about 2005, the
concept seemed to take off when Imprimis acquired intellectual property
related to the ophthalmic compounded formulations in 2013. When the company
launched its Go DroplessTM campaign in early 2014, the compound mixture
used to perform dropless cataract surgery gained even more momentum. Imprimis’
compound mixture is currently available in 38 states, including Illinois
as of this past August. Dr. Benjamin was one of the first physicians to
receive a supply.
LeaAnne Little, Midwest regional business director of Imprimis, educates
physicians on how to use the new product. She recalls Dr. Benjamin’s
favorable acceptance of using the intraocular medications in lieu of post-operative
drops. “The amount of calls that flood into a physician’s
office after cataract surgery is incredible, like a 95-year-old woman
who can’t put her drops in properly after surgery because her hands
are too shaky, or a patient is having complications with using the postoperative
drops because they just don’t understand the instructions. This
new technology really is the wave of the future. When Dr. Benjamin heard
we were licensed to ship in Illinois, he wanted access to it right away.”
A typical cataract surgical operation may involve pre-surgery drops, as
well as several prescribed eye drops after cataract surgery to protect
the eye against infection, decrease inflammation, and to keep the patient
comfortable. Although cataract surgery is often covered by most insurance
plans, including Medicare and Medicaid; the real burden to patients is
usually purchasing the prescribed drops before surgery and again afterwards,
which usually runs patients anywhere from $200 - $400 for each vial. But
the new dropless formula costs only $20, does not require additional drops
or refills; and the entire procedure – including the cataract surgery
– only takes about 10 minutes.
“I really hope this becomes the standard of care going forward. It
is very beneficial and more affordable for people who need cataract surgery
and struggle with paying for the costs associated with their post-surgical
care,” Dr. Benjamin said.
For more information about dropless cataract surgery or cataract treatment
options contact The Loretto Hospital’s Eye Clinic at 773-854-5306.
About The Loretto Hospital
The Loretto Hospital is a not-for-profit, community-based, and acute care hospital
located on the Far West Side of Chicago. Founded in 1939 by a group of
community doctors to create a patient centered hospital that would serve
the community regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, Loretto
has provided comprehensive medical care and social support services to
the Austin Community for over 70 years. Although the largest percentage
of the hospital’s patients resides in Austin, neighboring communities
and suburbs also utilize Loretto as a healthcare resource. For more information,