A renowned ophthalmology referral clinic has reported significant success with a novel cataract procedure in dogs who would otherwise not have been considered suitable for sight-saving surgery.

Ophthalmologists Gary Lewin and Chris Dixon, from Linnaeus-owned Veterinary Vision, have published a paper on their successes fitting a rhexis-fixated prosthetic intraocular lens (IOL) in dogs undergoing lens removal.

A cataract is diagnosed when a transparent lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is contained by a very thin bag called the lens capsule, and in some dogs, this capsule can be damaged.

Routine cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy lens and placement of a clear prosthetic acrylic lens into the lens capsule. If the lens capsule is sufficiently damaged, a prosthetic lens cannot be inserted and the patient’s vision would remain sub-optimal.

The technique Gary and Chris developed enables the surgeon to suspend a modified acrylic lens from a damaged capsule, which has historically not been possible.

The technique has been used in 28 dogs and the findings have recently been published in a paper in the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP).

Surgery was carried out in a total of 30 eyes using a modified acrylic IOL, where the lens capsule could not accommodate a conventional prosthetic endo-capsular IOL.

Over a follow-up period from three to 76 months, 26 of the 30 eyes remained visual.

Chris said: “It’s a novel technique for implanting a prosthetic lens into the eyes of patients who otherwise may have not been suitable for surgery, either saving or restoring their sight.

“Gary developed a method of modifying the lens to fit in the eye in dogs where the lens capsule is damaged.

“It’s about using and developing new technology to help patients see when they otherwise wouldn’t have been considered for surgery.”

Veterinary Vision, which has centres in Penrith, Sunderland and Charnock Richard, is equipped for all types of ocular surgery with its ophthalmologists offering a vast range of experience and knowledge in small animal, equine and farm animal eye conditions.

For more information, visit www.veterinaryvision.co.uk or search for Veterinary Vision on social media.

The JSAP paper published by Chris and Gary can be viewed here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jsap.13443

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