One of the most common effects of aging on vision is the formation of cataracts. Cataracts can make daily activities more difficult, but technological advances have continued to improve and expand treatment options. EyeCare Associates of New Orleans has both the latest state-of-the-art technology and a staff with extensive experience in cataract surgery to improve the quality of life for patients with the condition.
Dr. Scott Lanoux is a general ophthalmologist at EyeCare who has been practicing medicine for over 32 years. Previously having their own private practice, EyeCare was excited to join their team to treat patients in both Metairie and their newly opened Uptown location on Prytania Street.
Dr. Lanoux had a wealth of experience treating cataracts and knowing how and when they form. “Everyone is born with a lens in their eye and for most of your life it’s crystal clear. As you get older, the lens gets cloudy. It’s not actually a growth, even though people call it that – it’s a natural structure in your eye that has clouded over. It can start to affect your ability to read, drive – or most importantly see a golf ball out on the course!”
Since cataract formation is a process that occurs over time, initial symptoms may be subtle. A typical first sign that Dr. Lanoux is the increasing difficulty driving at night, especially seeing halos or glare from street lights and other vehicles on the road. As the cataract grows, this difficulty will change to problems with daytime vision.
Over the course of three decades, Dr. Lanoux has also seen a tremendous evolution in the technological advances made in cataract surgery, knowledge he uses to help patients consider their options. “We needed to make a big incision when I first started and put 4-8 stitches in the eye. We have now switched to something called Phacoemulsification which uses a high frequency ultrasound which essentially pulverizes the cataract. You’re left with a tiny incision – and no stitches.” When the lens is inserted at the end of surgery, these implants are now foldable, allowing the incision site to be kept as small and non-invasive as possible. These advances have improved both the effectiveness of surgery and the patient’s recovery experience.
EyeCare Associates also offers Catalytic Laser Cataract Surgery, another recent development that provides even greater precision to the surgeon using the tool. This surgical method softens the cataract and breaks it into smaller fragments, making it safer and gentler. EyeCare is always upgrading its equipment on an ongoing basis so that patients have access to cutting edge technology and services.
Patty Hoppe, a longtime patient of EyeCare of New Orleans, was treated by Drs. Lanoux for both macular degeneration and cataracts. At age 67, Patty remains active and enjoys many activities that require sharp vision, such as reading, crossword puzzles, and knitting. She first heard about lens implants from a friend. “Everyone knows about cataract surgery and people my age who get it, but to this day people don’t know that you can get a lens that eliminates the need for glasses. Dr. Lanoux had this whole litany of information and advice—there was no topic or topic off limits and I never felt rushed to make a decision.”
Deciding whether or not to have cataract surgery and when to have it is a choice each patient must reach with their doctor. It can be the right choice when a patient begins to be compromised by the problem with their vision and can no longer do some of the activities they enjoy. Dr. Lanoux first joked with Patty that her “cataracts weren’t ready yet” for surgery when she first came to EyeCare. Once Dr. Lanoux felt her cataract was ready to be removed, he walked Patty through her surgical options which included a custom-fit vital lens implant that would work best for her eyes with her history of macular degeneration.
Not only did Patty feel that Dr. Lanoux was informative, she felt that he always took the time to make her feel comfortable and valued her connection with him. “It had to be where I really liked going for a visit,” he said. “I would say his integrity is unquestionable and his bedside manner is exemplary. And I have to give credit to all his staff. I haven’t met a single person in his office who didn’t do a fantastic job.”
Today, Patty is able to return to many of the activities she once enjoyed with her new lens implants and cataracts. As a thank you gift, for Dr. Lanoux, she knitted him a scarf. “The scarf is the gift, but the real gift is that I knitted it for him without reading glasses,” she laughed. “And perhaps a patient should not say I love the man—but I do!”
Anyone considering cataract surgery can schedule an appointment or take EyeCare’s online cataract self-examination. EyeCare Associates is dedicated to continuing its 25-year legacy of excellence in serving families in the Orleans and Jefferson Parish areas. Earlier this year, the practice demonstrated that commitment through a $900,000 renovation and staff expansion of its Metairie headquarters following Hurricane Ida, in addition to a $550,000 renovation and opening of the Uptown location. To learn more about their services, visit eyecareneworleans.com.