Traditionally, sedation medications for ocular surgery have been administered intravenously, which requires IV medications and supplies. Not only are IV needles a nuisance for our patients, but this can also sometimes cause delays and disruptions in the operating room. Amazingly, Drs. Tyson and Holzinger have found an alternative and now offer IV free Cataract Surgery! Now our cataract patients can remain completely anxiety free. Not only do they not need to take drops after surgery, but they are no longer being stuck with any IV needles.
During IV free cataract surgery, a small pill called the MKO Melt is placed under the patient’s tongue and delivers the required medications over a 2 to 3 minute release period. Similar to anesthesia, the patient goes into a state of conscious sedation as the tablet coating melts away. The effects are evident after 2 to 3 minutes and peak at about 20 minutes. This lasts for 2 to 3 hours.
The MKO Melt tablet offers Dr. Tyson and Dr. Holzinger several advantages over our previous IV method and has improved our Operating Room’s workflow. Dispensing the medication is simple and only a matter of having the patient place the melt under their tongue until it fully dissolves. This a more standardized level of sedation and we find that patients ease into and out of the anesthesia more gently than with IV sedation. This is about more than just getting rid of the IV; it is about making cataract surgery as enjoyable as possible for our patients.
In addition, it has been common practice for eye surgeons to have cataract surgery patients use eye drops before and after their surgery. This regimen almost always causes questions or problems and can be very costly for our patients. Dr. Tyson and Dr. Holzinger were always concerned with the drops being put in the eye correctly and in a timely fashion. And for these reasons, we have decided to eliminate the burden of taking drops for the majority of our patients before and after surgery. Instead, our surgeons administer all of the drops needed inside the eye at the end of surgery. “It’s very important that the drops are used properly to assure proper healing of the eye after surgery” states Dr. Tyson. “Unfortunately, taking these drops can be very confusing. I feel much better now that I am the one responsible for instilling all the medication needed in the eye immediately after the cataract surgery is complete.” This is a decision that required much research and experience. " This is the way it has been done in Europe for many years and with great success" says Dr Tyson. "Surgeons in the US are finally catching on and we at Eye Associates are leading the charge!"
There is also the expense and going to the pharmacy to get another prescription or getting denied refills from the pharmacy. We estimated depending on your insurance that most patients spend approximately $200-$300 on these drops. “The savings to our patients will be substantial” says Dr. Tyson. “We are happy all the way around for our patients. As surgeons we feel much more comfortable that our patients are getting all the medication they need at the time of surgery.” So the hassle of using drops for cataract surgery is now eliminated for the majority of our patients. Going to the pharmacy to get the drops and then refills is eliminated. The extra expense is now eliminated. We know how to make it better and easier for our patients, because we care.