New Zealanders living with cataracts are set to benefit from the launch of a new treatment that will allow patients to experience high-quality vision at both intermediate and far distances.
Around 370,000 New Zealanders are estimated to be living with cataracts, which has been identified as one of the leading causes of blindness and low vision in the country. By 2020, nearly 22,800 New Zealanders are projected to have cataract-related vision loss and around 2,000 are expected to have cataract-related blindness.
Although the condition is prevalent in New Zealand and across the rest of the world, cataracts are highly treatable with safe and effective surgical procedures. One of the existing treatment options for cataracts involves replacing the lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) – the most common being a monofocal lens with a fixed focus for one distance.
A new, next-generation monofocal IOL known as TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL is an important first for the monofocal IOL category, as most available monofocal lens only correct vision to help patients with cataracts see things at a distance, and thus do not improve the intermediate vision that is required for many important daily tasks.
With the progress made in treatment options, the number of cataract surgeries performed worldwide is climbing, and post-operative outcomes are also improving. In New Zealand, cataract removal is one of the most common eye operations performed today, with approximately 30,000 procedures conducted every year2.
While cataracts are treatable, those living with the condition are still required to choose between their near and far vision, prior to the lens replacement procedure, according to Dr. Dean Corbett, consultant ophthalmologist and surgeon at Auckland Eye.
“Despite the advancements in technology, patients are still forced to make a trade-off decision on their vision with existing treatment options. While they are able to have corrected vision at a distance, they still require glasses for near and intermediate activities, which include day-to-day tasks such as computer and desk work,” he added.
Christoph Vonwiller, regional vice-president, Surgical, Asia Pacific & Japan, Johnson & Johnson Vision – whose company developed the new IOL – said the lens is a significant improvement over current treatment options.
“TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL is a game-changing product from our innovation pipeline that builds upon the legacy of the TECNIS® family of IOLs and the proven design of our one-piece platform.”
“Our post-surgery outcomes have shown that most patients can perform certain activities with greater ease following the implantation of the new IOL, such as being able to walk on uneven surfaces, and to engage in activities of personal interest.
“This solution is testament to Johnson and Johnson Vision’s commitment to work with eye care professionals to connect cutting-edge insights, science and technology to preserve and enhance sight for life,” added Mr Vonwiller.
TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL has been approved by Medsafe, making it a treatment option for New Zealand patients when a monofocal IOL is being considered.
 Blind Foundation, Blindness and Low Vision in New Zealand – Latest statistics.  Access Economics, Clear Focus – The economic impact of vision loss in New Zealand in 2009.  SingHealth, Cataracts  Lee CM & Afshari NA. The global state of cataract blindness. Ophthalmol 2017; 28(1):98-103.  Employed by Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc.  Data on File, Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc. 2018. DOF2018CT4015