Eye Surgeon First To Perform Approved Lens Implant

Nacogdoches eye surgeon Dr. Robert Lehmann became the first surgeon to implant a 'revolutionary lens' since its approval by the FDA.

Not the first to have the lens, but the first to receive it since FDA approval is registered nurse Vicki Lane. Lane works for Lehmann, but on this day the doctor is working for her. Vicki wants her turn now that the implant has been approved by the FDA. "I've seen the results in the patients that have had this as part of the clinical trial. It's just amazing," said Lane minutes before entering the surgery room.

Beginning in 2001 Lehmann was the lead investigator for the ReSTOR lens. Out of the 51 patients he served, only nine sometimes wear glasses. Dr. Robert Lehmann said, "Forty-two patients never wear glasses for any purpose. They have excellent distant vision, near vision, intermediate vision with the ReSTOR lens."

The surgery begins with a precise incision for cataract removal and lens implantation. In Vicky's case she only needs and wants the lens. "The lens has already been folded and is going in. Now you'll see the unfolding of the lens," said Lehmann as he skillfully slipped the manufactured lens into place.

The acrylic ReSTOR lens has competition from crystal lenses, but clinical data shows the acrylics have much better results restoring a full range of vision by using a unique tree ring pattern. "It allows half the light to go to a near focus and half the light to go to a distant focus," explained Lehmann.

This 'elective surgery' costs about $4500 per eye. If insurance pays for the surgery the cost to the patient is around $900 dollars per eye. Efforts are underway to place the 'lens implantation' on 'Medicare/Medicaid' plans.

Lehmann steps back from his work and tells his nurse, "Congratulations. You've got the first one after FDA approval." In less than a half an hour Vicki is on her way to being eye glass free.