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Dr. Brian Nichols on a 'True Breakthrough' in Cataract Surgery

  • Category: General, Eye Care
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  • Written By: Boulder Community Health
Dr. Brian Nichols on a 'True Breakthrough' in Cataract Surgery


Each year more than four million Americans undergo cataract surgery to remove an aging, cloudy eye lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens implant, or IOL. With traditional cataract surgery, only their distance or near vision can be restored, but not both. Additionally, traditional surgery doesn’t correct astigmatism. This leaves patients dependent on their glasses or contact lenses.

“Now there’s a new advanced alternative—the Light Adjustable Lens— that goes one step further by customizing your vision after cataract surgery. We can adjust your new IOL using office-based UV light treatments to achieve the best vision possible,” said board-certified ophthalmologist Brian Nichols, MD, PhD, during a free online presentation.

Boulder Community Health is the first in Colorado to offer this latest advance in cataract surgery.


VIDEO: Watch Dr. Nichols' online lecture on the "Latest Advances in Cataract Surgery."

Cataract Surgery Basics
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed in the U.S. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery.

“Greater than 95 percent of people who have cataract surgery experience better vision afterwards,” Dr. Nichols said. “The surgery is quick, often taking less than 20 minutes, usually painless, performed without admission to the hospital and does not require general anesthesia."

Most modern cataract procedures involve the use of phacoemulsification — a high-frequency ultrasound device that disintegrates the cloudy lens into small pieces. “The pieces are then gently removed from the eye with suction through tiny micro incisions,” Dr. Nichols explained. “After all pieces of the cloudy lens have been removed, we insert the artificial IOL.”

In his online presentation, Dr. Nichols includes a detailed illustrative video of a cataract surgery.

The Latest Advance: Light Adjustable Lens

Dr. Nichols described the Light Adjustable IOL as a simple concept. He said, “It is the first and only lens that can be adjusted after cataract surgery. Importantly, unlike other cataract surgery, the Light Adjustable Lens lets you preview your vision options before finalizing your choice.”

He explained further, “Until now, we were unable to show patients exactly what the result of their cataract surgery would be. With this lens, we can show them their visual options after surgery, and they can choose where they want their prescription to be.”

Dr. Nichols then described the process. Once your eye has healed, you return to your eye doctor to have your vision tested. During this visit, you can preview and compare possible vision outcomes before selecting a prescription for your adjustable lens. Your doctor will then apply a proprietary light treatment that precisely reshapes your implanted lens based on your custom prescription. (Watch this video to learn more about the procedure.)

“In other words, the prescription is incorporated into the lens inside of the eye. The lens is adjusted every three to four days and can be readjusted up to three times until we reach your vision goals,” said Dr. Nichols. “Once you have achieved your optimal vision, the lens power is permanently locked in with a final light treatment to prevent any further changes.”

According to Dr. Nichols, the Light Adjustable Lens was developed in Europe more than a decade ago and has been available in the U.S. only since 2017. “The FDA trial demonstrated a nearly 92 percent success rate in providing 20/25 vision or better without glasses,” he said.

Click here to view/download a PDF of slides shown during his lecture on the “Latest Advances in Cataract Surgery.”

To schedule an appointment with Brian Nichols, MD, PhD, call (303) 444-3000.