YOUR HEALTH: Seeing is believing with this cataract surgery

NEW YORK CITY – Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans over the age of 40 and are a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

A new portable device for cataract removal is speeding recovery time and may make the procedure available to patients in countries where there have been very few treatment options.

It helped Beverly Mims, whose vision problems started in her 50's and got progressively worse.

"When I started to read I'd have to hold the paper up above."

Magazine print that once was clear, was just a blur.

Beverly had cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye.

Traditionally, doctors have used a laser probe to break up the cataract.

"It's almost like having a stone in your eye and breaking that up sometimes requires a lot of energy," explained Dr. Sean Ianchulev, Professor of Ophthalmology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

"That energy is not good for the eye."

Harvard trained Dr. Sean Ianchulev helped develop a new device to more easily remove the cloudy lens.

It's called miLOOP.

"It's a micro-thin filament that is actually memory shaped," Dr. Ianchulev said.

"You can unfold it and go through a two-millimeter incision. When you retract the button, you actually cut the cataract immediately."

For Beverly, the removal was so quick, the procedure was over before she realized the doctor had started.

"I called my husband and said he's finished," she recalled.

"My husband said 'Finished?   Did he cancel?   What did you do?'   I said I didn't do anything.   He's finished."

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   Microinterventional technology in surgery isn't new; however until now, ophthalmic surgery has generally failed to benefit from its developments.   Dr. Sean Ianchulev has created a device called the miLOOP.   It is a simple and low cost device for microinterventional cataract surgery.   The miLOOP is made up of nitinol filament mounted on a pen-like actuator, enabling rapid non-thermal cutting of even the hardest cataracts without using laser, heat, or vibrational energy, with no fluidic complications.   The miLOOP also boasts the fastest patient recovery time, with patients seeing and reading on day one after surgery

Because the device is portable and doesn't require heat or vibration, Dr. Ianchulev used it on recent humanitarian trips to Panama and Ethiopia.

Restoring vision to patients around the world.

Beverly Mims had her left eye done first and is scheduled to have a cataract removed from the right.   She had clear vision almost immediately after the procedure.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at


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