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September 1995

The Surgeon's Dilemma

Author Affiliations

Chair, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Panel on Functional Impairment Due to Cataract in the Adult Chair, Quality of Care Committee, American Academy of Ophthalmology

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(9):1105-1106. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100090027016

Technological innovation began to have a significant impact on cataract surgery in the early 1970s, first with the introduction of the intraocular lens and then with the initial wave of phacoemulsification. However, it was not until the planned extracapsular approach became widespread, coinciding with the adoption of the posterior chamber lens, that the extraordinary potential of modern technology finally became manifest. Since then there has been an ever-increasing cascade of new developments in virtually all facets of the procedure, including most recently the application of laser technology. This revolution in surgical technology shows little sign of abating.

Innovation came to ophthalmic surgery at a time that another crucial change was occurring in the way care was being provided to patients with cataract. The transfer of cataract surgery to the outpatient setting had a pro-found effect on the surgeons and their culture, as well as on the patients. Now it was

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