SAN FRANCISCO – Here at the IOMED program during the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting, an optometrist urged ophthalmologists in the audience to work closely with their comanaging doctors when implementing femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery.
“What does femto cataract surgery mean to optometry?” Christopher Freeman, OD, of Springfield, Mo., said during the comanagement program. “There will be nuances, subtleties, issues of how to discuss this with patients, patient expectations,” he said.
“Laser-assisted cataract surgery in most markets will be part of a premium procedure,” Freeman continued. “Outcomes and patient expectations will be important. Optometrists will need to learn how to manage expectations.”
Because femtosecond cataract surgery will probably be part of a presbyopic or premium IOL offering, “it will have some level of financial impact on the patient,” Freeman said. “Referring optometrists need to know this. Patients need to know we’re all on the same page.”
Optometrists also need to know the financial impact to the surgeon and if there will be a change in comanagement fees for this procedure.
Why the surgeon is offering femtosecond cataract surgery will be a key message, Freeman said.
“Do they believe it will have better safety, better outcomes or attract more patients?” Freeman said. “Will it slow down throughput during the learning curve?”
It comes down to good two-way communication, he said.
“I love the prospect of increasing the predictability of the visual and safety outcomes,” Freeman said. “It will be exciting to optometrists, just like laser refractive surgery was. A lot of optometrists didn’t buy into refractive surgery until later because it was elective. Optometry knows cataract surgery is not elective. There will be a faster buy-in. Educate them your way.”