What the Interventional Mindset Means to Cataract Surgeons

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5 min read

Dr. Wörtz reviews how ophthalmologists and cataract surgeons benefit from adopting an interventional mindset.

As a medical student, I was drawn to ophthalmology because of the timely and tremendous impact a seemingly simple procedure could have on a patient. I witnessed how refractive surgeries and glaucoma procedures could be used to profoundly improve an individual’s quality of life with near-immediate results.
Further, with technology and training, it was possible to intervene and alter ocular outcomes long-term. This was the genesis of my own interventional mindset.

Interventional Mindset is an educational series that gives eye physicians the needed knowledge, edge, and confidence in mastering new technology to grow their practices and provide the highest level of patient care. Our focus is to reduce frustrations associated with adopting new technology by building confidence in your skills to drive transformation.

Browse through our videos on a variety of topics within cataract and refractive surgery, glaucoma, and ocular surface disease to learn practical insights into adopting a variety of new surgical techniques and technology.

The necessity of an interventional mindset

For me, having an interventional mindset means finding the cure, providing the fix, and moving the profession forward for the benefit of patients, which entails being a lifelong learner committed to mastering new skills.
Between intraocular lenses (IOLs), lasers, and pharmaceuticals, there is a near-constant stream of innovative technology in the domain of refractive cataract surgery. The same holds true in the realms of ocular surface and glaucoma. And, as we have all become well aware, these three spheres tend to consistently overlap. In my professional opinion, it is a key imperative for glaucoma specialists and refractive surgeons to optimize the ocular surface to potentially achieve the refractive goals set in pre-operative planning.
Microinvasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) can potentially maximize efficiency and patient satisfaction when provided as an adjunct for intraocular pressure reduction at the time of cataract surgery or as a standalone procedure. It is my belief that the next generation of anterior segment surgeons will need to be adroit at addressing all three issues to some degree. To best treat our patients in a comprehensive and holistic manner, it’s time for ophthalmologists to consider expanding their specialty partnerships.
With this thought in mind, we have to think differently by breaking the walls down within a given specialty and stretching out of our comfort zone to learn new procedures and processes. However, even I know from personal experience it can be challenging to implement new technologies into our day-to-day operations.

Barriers to developing an interventional mindset

Discomfort with being a novice is, perhaps, the biggest barrier to adopting an interventional mindset. As with any new endeavor, fear of failure stands at the forefront in keeping us from attempting to integrate new technologies or procedures. I feel with surgeons, this can be even more daunting, especially once when you are in practice with a full schedule and no mentor to walk you through it step-by-step. It is important to accept you will not be an expert on day one.
To adopt an interventional mindset, use all available resources, which includes taking every opportunity to learn from other physicians within your own practice who have different skill sets. Reach out to colleagues in other specialties and offer to exchange expertise. When training is offered by industry representatives who will partner with you and come to the operating room to help you learn their technology, jump on these opportunities to enhance your surgical proficiency.
By doing so, you can find ways to shorten the learning curve while honing the specific techniques that will best serve your practice and your patients. Lastly, do not underestimate the power of attending society symposiums. Scientific exchange, along with peer-to-peer consultation with colleagues and subject matter experts, is priceless.

Final thoughts

With all the recent innovations and current offerings in ocular surface disease, cataract surgery, vision correction, and MIGS, it is the perfect time to adopt an interventional mindset!
Along with fellow creators Preeya K. Gupta, MD, and Nathan Radcliffe, MD, I am thrilled to bring this new initiative to the forefront. Personally, I am equally excited to share the tips and techniques I’ve learned throughout the years, coupled with my desire to continuously develop and grow through acquiring knowledge from other clinicians at the top of their specialties.
Through these videos and articles, the ophthalmic community will share surgical pearls, introduce new technologies, explore pharmaceutical solutions, and address common obstacles in implementation, all with the common goal of adopting an interventional mindset to advance the field and elevate patient outcomes.
Gary Wörtz, MD
About Gary Wörtz, MD

Gary Wörtz, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist from Lexington, KY specializing in cataract and refractive surgery.

Since completing his training in 2008, Dr. Wörtz has successfully performed thousands of cataract and laser procedures. He currently practices in Lexington at Commonwealth Eye Surgery. Dr. Wörtz became one of the first surgeons in Kentucky to perform laser refractive cataract surgery. He utilizes the latest technology both in and out of the operating room to help restore vision for cataract patients.

Dr. Wörtz enjoys innovation and teaching his techniques to others around the country. He has been a consulting speaker for Alcon, AMO, Bio-Tissue, TearLab, Carl Zeiss Meditech and Dialogue Medical. He has also been a principal investigator in multiple FDA pharmaceutical trials in the ophthalmic sector. He has given numerous lectures at both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons annual meetings. He is also a frequent contributor to many trade journals such Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today, MillennialEye, Ophthalmology Times, and EyeWorld, and was recently named to the editorial board of Ocular Surgery News.

Gary Wörtz, MD
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