Billy Haddad wore eyeglasses for 50 years. In December 2016, Haddad stopped reaching for his lenses after undergoing ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) surgery at P&S Surgical Hospital, northeast Louisiana’s only facility to offer the new technology.
“I wanted the best and newest technology on the market so I chose the ORA technology because I knew it not only would improve my vision, but it would correct my astigmatism, which I have had since the third grade,” Haddad said. “My doctor told me he felt very confident he could correct my vision where I would not have to wear glasses. After the surgery, my vision was so clear and so sharp. I was very surprised.”
Northeast Louisiana boasts a history of eye innovation, said Dr. John Cooksey, who has been practicing medicine in Monroe for 45 years. During the 1950s, Dr. Clifton Flinn completed one of the nation’s first lens implants in Monroe on a patient from Bastrop.
“We have been performing lens implants since Dr. Flinn’s revolutionary work more than 60 years ago. Our technology has progressed rapidly through innovation.”
Over a lifetime, most people spend copious amounts of time in the sun, and as they get older, their eyes become hazy, and their vision deteriorates, he said. During cataract surgery, an ophthalmologist removes the patient’s cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens, restoring one’s vision. ORA has refined that procedure.
“One of the latest innovations is the ORA technology, which allows us to fit the patient — based on the individual’s unique eye — with an absolutely precise lens. Each person’s eyes vary, and now we have technology to measure what type of lens we need to implant. Previously, we could only measure certain aspects of the cornea, but the ORA technology measures it all, and it gives us a more precise measurement of the eye. This technology gives us the best vision a person can possibly get,” Cooksey said.
Opthalmologists Joseph Barron, John Cooksey, and W. Jason Read are the community’s only certified physicians to perform the ORA technology.
The ORA machinery provides real-time measurements of the eye during cataract surgery and guides the surgeon to determine the most accurate lens power. The system works by directing a beam of low-intensity laser light into the eye. The laser light reflects off of the patient’s retina, while sensors in the instrument analyze the reflected wave of light exiting the eye. This real-time analysis measures the eye’s unique optical characteristics, and gives the surgeon an accurate measurement of the eye’s focusing capabilities.
This real-time data collected during cataract surgery is invaluable, said Dr. Read, who has been practicing medicine in Monroe since 2005.
“Prior to ORA, we would measure the patient’s eye in the clinic and select a lens implant based on calculations and formulas. We still perform the same pre-operative measurements, but now we have the added benefit of instant feedback during surgery. This technology allows the surgeon to modify our clinical measurements using real-time data in the operating room. It also helps me position the lens implants that are used to correct astigmatism,” Read said. “When I leave the operating room, I am much more confident in my lens implant selection and placement because of ORA. I’m excited about this innovation because it provides better postoperative outcomes.”
Haddad, a longtime Monroe resident, was struck by the drastic change he experienced following surgery.
“After surgery on the fifth, I was back at work on the sixth, with no complications. I could see so clearly the next day. I did not realize how much my vision had worsened. I am an outdoorsman, and I love to duck hunt. I was able to see ducks that I could not have seen before the surgery.”
Haddad described his experience at P&S as “excellent.”
“I guess everyone is a little nervous and I was too, but the caring attitude relaxed me quite a bit because I knew I was in great hands … After surgery and during recovery, I was again greeted by a very caring and helpful staff. I am the Ouachita Parish Market Leader for Origin Bank, and we strive for the best customer experience we can deliver, so I noticed a lot of details: check-in, service delivery, patient care, and even cleanliness. I had a great experience at P&S.”
Dr. Joseph Barron has been practicing in Monroe for more than 30 years. He said he appreciates the hospital’s progressive methods.
“P&S is very responsive to what physicians need. We are the first in this area to get this new technology, along with many other technologies such as the Mako Robot, which is used in knee and hip surgeries as well as the DaVinci robot. P&S understands what kind of cutting-edge technology physicians need to best serve our community. We are very fortunate to be a part of that.”
The ORA system means better results for the patient, which is the ultimate purpose, Barron said.
“Our goal is better patient outcomes. We’re trying to do all that we can to be more accurate, precise and predictable in our results. This new technology increases the chances that our patients will get the good outcomes we want for them.”
Story by Laura Clark