AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Every year, three million Americans undergo cataract surgery, replacing the cloudy lens in their eye. Recovery is usually 2 to 6 weeks and it includes weeks of eye drops. Now, there is an FDA-approved, dropless alternative called Dextenza.
Suzanne Fenyves is thrilled. The 74-year-old can see clearly now.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Richard Davidson at UCHealth Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center removed the cataract in one of her eyes in late May, he operated on the other eye two weeks later.
“It’s the easiest surgery in the world,” Suzanne told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Each time it took about 15 minutes to remove a cloudy lens and replace it with a manmade lens.
Suzanne says it was painless. About the recovery she said, “I was thrilled to death.”
That’s because Suzanne was able to avoid what most patients dread.
“Most patients do go home with drops,” said Dr. Davidson.
That includes 3 different drops, 2 to 4 times a day for up to 4 weeks.
Davidson says dealing with the drops stresses patients more than the actual surgery.
“Patients, A, are nervous about putting the drops in. B, they’re afraid they’re going to miss the eye. They are nervous about causing damage if they miss a dose,” said Davidson.
“I would have struggled,” admitted Suzanne.
Instead, Suzanne got Dextenza, a tiny steroid implant. She got two needed medications, an antibiotic and a non-steroid, during surgery. The implant, smaller than a grain of rice, was inserted in a tear duct.
“It dissolves gradually over 30 days,” said Davidson.
“I don’t see any downside to it,” said Suzanne.
If you’re headed for cataract surgery and interested in Dextenza, Davidson said talk with your doctor and check with your insurance.