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News and events

The new cataract surgery method was helped developed in Croatia

The new cataract surgery method was helped developed in Croatia
This is the third study in which the worldwide corporation Johnson & Johnson Vision has selected the Clinic Svjetlost to be a partner.
For the last 3 months, a new generation of laser cataract surgery device is being researched at the Svjetlost Eye Clinic in Zagreb. This is the third study in which the worldwide corporation Johnson & Johnson Vision has selected the Clinic Svjetlost as a partner, the first two studies were related to lens development, Symfony and Synergy.
The lenses were implanted by thousands of people, celebrities included such as Tim Roth, Ivana Trump, Armand Assante, Franco Nero, Lepa Brena, Rade Šerbedžija, Maja Šuput, and many others.

For several years now, the profession and industry have been dealing with the problem of laser cataract surgery in the world, but no consensus has been reached. The problem is that these devices are very expensive and their results were not particularly better than ultrasound surgeries, but the biggest problem was the software, which did not allow the operations to be fully personalized for each patient. The team from the Svjetlost clinic has been working intensively with the designers of the next generation software for this device for 3 months now. As a thank you for collaborating on this project, Johnson & Johnson is donating this very expensive device to the Svjetlost clinic and is preparing a major project where Svjetlost will become a training center for laser cataract surgery in Europe. A global company like Johnson & Johnson can choose any doctor or institution as a partner, by choosing Svjetlost we have another proof that the size of the country you come from does not matter in quality.

Professor Gabrić explained why it is that only now it´s being made public that they are doing this new method of cataract surgery:  "Technology is advancing at a tremendous speed and there is a gold standard in cataract surgery, which is ultrasound cataract surgery. We, as an institution with several thousand such procedures a year and more than 1500 fitting of so-called premium lenses, which is almost more than all doctors in a far richer Austria, before we present new services to the public, conduct our testing and research of these devices. The Laser Cataract Surgery device has been in operation in our clinic since mid-November 2019 and we performed more than 100 procedures on it, but before offering the service to the public we wanted to carry out our monitoring of the results of the first patients who received this new innovative service at no extra charge. " 

"When there is a gold standard in medicine, it is important to compare something to that standard, because not everything new is better, especially when the results of ultrasound surgery are almost perfect. The first patients who underwent this type of procedure are now in intensive monitoring for about 3 months to make sure that the results are the same or better before the service is advertised and offered to the general public. The marketing companies that make these devices are one thing, but the personal experience is the only thing relevant when compared to the gold standard. Now we can say that we are sure that what the manufacturer is promoting is real and true, these are large sums that are being invested in device development and you cannot blindly believe what the industry is saying, especially when it comes to the results of operations on living people. "Professor Iva Dekaris,MD PhD a surgeon with over 25 years of experience in cataract surgery and corneal transplants.

"I performed over 15,000 operations on a similar device, also a Femto laser, but for the cornea used in the laser vision correction process, and of course I was very interested in how similar technology works applied to other types of eye surgery. Honestly, since I work at Svjetlost I have been monitoring patients with premium lenses after cataract surgery and can say that our results have always been better than what we have seen other colleagues present at World and European congresses. I performed the first 50 procedures on this new device and personally followed all the patients and I must admit that compared to the gold standard mentioned by Professor Gabrić and Professor Dekaris, PhD this device gives results that are just as good, if not better, than the gold standard."Maja Bohač,MD, PhD a refractive surgeon with over 30,000 laser vision correction procedures.

"I was thrilled that often in cataract surgery, we had patients who had the old belief that the cataract had to mature before surgery. However, this rule has not been valid for 30 years, but it is still believed in our people. This is not a problem in itself, but in ultrasound cataract surgery when the cataract is "young", the operation is fast and we need very little ultrasound energy to break the cataract, which leads to a very fast recovery of patients after the surgery. But when the cataract is “mature“ we need more ultrasound energy, the duration of the operation is longer, and the time of recovery takes up to several weeks instead of 24 hours. Using this new laser, we´ve operated on several of these "mature" cataracts and drastically reduced our recovery time! This is a great joy for me because now these patients also have the opportunity to quickly return to their daily activities. "- Ante Barišić, MD, Head of the Department of Cataract Surgery in the Svjetlost clinic.

Ivan Gabrić, MD who is one of the surgeons working on this new laser, shared his first experiences: “Although I am relatively young, I have performed many laser correction surgeries, almost exclusively with Femto laser technology, and this cataract surgery device is a natural part of my evolution in ophthalmology. My father started operating cataracts before I was born, and the surgical experience he gained is truly unreachable to me. He has performed over 60,000 such operations and sets a very high ladder for all of us in Svjetlost clinic, his results, speed, and surgical skills are unachievable in the classical method, I compared all 100 operated patients on a new laser with his standard and his personal standard with ultrasound surgery is such that there is no visible difference. But there is only one Nikica Gabrić and for us young surgeons that lack experience this device allows us to achieve the same results despite less experience. " 

"Here we are talking about the automation and robotization of medicine. We, senior surgeons, have the enormous experience we have gained through years of work, young surgeons will never be able to gain that experience quickly enough, and with such devices, medicine and industry allow more physicians to perform cataract surgeries. There are over 30 million cataract operations worldwide annually. So far, almost 90% of the operations are ultrasound, 8% are old methods of surgery from the mid-20th century and less than 2% are operations on such devices for laser cataract surgery. I'm still that old school surgeon who can operate the old way, with ultrasound as the gold standard and also now with this new Femto laser, but my younger doctors will probably never even learn the old ways because their time is up. " emphasized Professor Gabrić, MD, PhD. 

„Svjetlost Eye Clinic has always been the first when talking about laser surgery, we brought the first laser vision correction device to Croatia back in 1998., in 2007. the new generation laser vision correction device was brought by us and Professor Gabrić, Maja Bohač, MD, PhD and my brother Ivan were operated by it. Such a laser is used in most of the other institutions in Croatia today and we switched to a new better platform in 2011. We brought the first Femto laser device for the laser vision correction back in 2010, and in 2011 we introduced the first Femto laser for presbyopia surgery. The laser for cataract surgery came to us in 2019., and we are continuing that streak where we are always a leader in the laser eye surgery market."Krešimir Gabrić, MD one of the doctors performing laser cataract surgery.

In addition to being the leader in the introduction of new laser surgeries, the Svjetlost Clinic is the leader, not only in Croatia but worldwide, in the introduction of new intraocular lenses that are implanted after cataract surgery. The previous generation of such, the Symfony lenses were tested in 2014 in the clinic Svjetlost and have now become some of the gold standards in the world. In 2019 among the first, Svjetlost tested the world's new lens, the Synergy, the 5th generation lenses which provide even better vision at all distances with less interference than previous generations. 

Of the 8 centers in the world that tested this lens, Svjetlost is the only one from Central and Southeastern Europe. After initial testing, Svjetlost installed more of these lenses than all other centers together! The results of these lenses were presented personally by prof. Gabrić in front of 800 European and world-known doctors, during the European Congress in Paris. The Synergy lenses are the ones that were implanted to Tim Roth, the American actor, one in many world-known celebrities that decided to operate their cataract in the Svjetlost clinic. Over the last two years in Svjetlost, premium intraocular lenses have been installed by the already mentioned Tim Roth, Ivana Trump - the first wife of US President Donald Trump, Joe Cinque - the president of the US Academy of Services, Armand Assante - an American actor, Cassandra Gavi - an American film producer, Franco Nero - an Italian-American actor, Rade Šerbedžija, Lepa Brena and thousands of other satisfied patients. 

The laser cataract surgery provides a less invasive, more individualized operation procedure with a precision greater than the traditional technique. Advanced technology creates a 3D unique map of the eye and lens and personalizes the treatment to the specifications of the map. The femtosecond laser softens and breaks the cataract into thin pieces, allowing easier and gentler removal. When the cataract is removed, a lens is implanted.

Advantages of cataract laser surgery:

• A personalized approach to each operation

• Computer-driven operating flow

• High precision, accuracy, and reproducibility of the procedure

• Less invasive surgery and trauma to the eye