Darrell P. Williams, ophthalmologist for Trinity Health of Minot, has performed more than 12,000 consecutive cataract surgeries without a post-operative infection. Ocular Surgery News published Williams' description of how he has prevented such infections.
"Infection rates have gone up nationwide since we converted to sutureless incisions," Williams said. "One thing I'm doing differently is how I seal those incisions. I wanted to share that and put out this information."
Williams attributes his surgical success to a number of factors, including a technique he uses that is not generally addressed in the literature. His technique involves pressurizing the eye to about twice what is normal at the end of surgery to confirm that the incisions are watertight.
Standing next to a video of a cataract surgery he performed, Darrell P. Williams, ophthalmologist for Trinity Health, explains the new surgical microscope he uses, the Zeiss Lumera.
"Making sure that incision is jammed shut avoids the potential for the patient to bump their eye, blink or rub the eye and introduce the potential of microscopic infection," he said, adding: "Especially in the eye, there's no blood flow to the gel inside the eye, so it (infection) becomes an abscess."
Patients who get post-operative infections after cataract surgery may have pain and blurred vision. Post-operative infection is one of the most dreaded complications of cataract surgery.
"You want to do everything you can to improve the potential for a good outcome," Williams said. "At the time I started the technique, I thought, 'I never want to have another infection.' I called the doctors I trained with and I compared notes."
Williams explained that he has other colleagues with equally good data concerning the technique, but at the present time, it's more the exception than the rule.
"If in fact other studies demonstrate that it is effective, it will become standard procedure," he said.
Williams attributed other factors to his surgical success as well. Trinity's operating room staff, sterile technique and handling of equipment and supplies have also helped keep patients infection-free.
He explained that two of his associates, Evelyne Kindy and Chad Wolsky, have also performed infection-free surgeries during their careers at Trinity Health.