ONTARIO — Ontario ophthalmologist Harold Ballitch completed a newly FDA-approved eye surgery in Richland County on Wednesday, joining only a small percentage of doctors who have completed this procedure in the United States.
Dr. Ballitch, of the Advanced Eye Care Center, performed his first surgical implant of the PanOptix Trifocal Intraocular Lens (IOL) on 76-year-old patient Sarah Davis with laser-assisted technology.
Within two hours, Davis was awake and talking about her experience with her doctor for a film crew. She was cheerful and talkative -- “just like normal,” she said.
“I feel wonderful… It seemed like it was just 10 minutes,” she said. “I feel like I could go back to work today if he would release me.”
Ballitch explained this new trifocal lens procedure has been long anticipated by U.S by surgeons. It benefits patients with cataracts -- a common age-related eye condition and the leading cause of preventable blindness in America.
When the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, it's surgically removed and replaced with an IOL, but in the past, IOLs only offered improved vision at specific distances, forcing patients to rely on glasses part of the time.
Ballitch said this new Trifocal lens improves vision at all levels, potentially negating the use of glasses entirely. Patients can remain awake and may see colors during the procedure, but they aren’t supposed to experience much discomfort.
“The difference between the trifocal lens (and other previously approved multi-focal lens) is that it gives true intermediate vision,” Ballitch said.
Previously, he’d have to “mix and match” a lens to provide quality distant and near vision.
“The mixing and matching is over,” he said.
He was excited to be one of the first in Ohio and the first in the Richland County region to offer the surgery.
“I am committed to caring for my patients by providing the highest level of medical and surgical eye care available in a professional, honest, and compassionate manner. I am committed to the pursuit of educational opportunities and staying abreast of changes and advances in technology that improve the care I provide and the quality of vision for my patients,” he said.
According to a press release, the recent FDA approval of the trifocal lens was based on a study at 12 U.S.-based sites. Patients in the study experienced “exceptional, uninterrupted vision” following their procedures.
Post-operation satisfaction was described as “through the roof.” More than 99 percent reportedly said they would choose the same lens again.
Ballitch is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist practicing in the Mansfield area since 1992. A graduate of Michigan State University Medical School, he completed his residency at the Medical College of Virginia, where he served as chief resident. He then completed an Oculoplastic Fellowship in Albany, New York, specializing in eyelid and orbital reconstruction. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons with a subspecialty in Ophthalmic (Eye) Plastic Surgery.