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Health Care
Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 19, 202112:11 PM EST

Ascension St. Vincent’s, Florida Eye Specialists roll out innovations

One can help patients with COPD, and the other can assist cataract patients receive a better-performing lens.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

Two health care innovations became available in Northeast Florida, and patients with COPD lung attacks and those who have had LASIK eye surgery, glaucoma or dry eye but want cataract surgery, can benefit. 

Ascension St. Vincent’s announced March 17 it is participating in the Airflow-3 clinical trial to treat patients with frequent COPD lung attacks. 

COPD is a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It can cause breathing issues, frequent coughing, trouble taking deep breaths and excess phlegm, mucus or sputum, the news release said.

Ascension St. Vincent’s is the first health system in the state to offer the trial. It is offered in 25 locations in the U.S. and Europe, the news release said. 

It began enrolling patients in February.

The trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of targeted lung denervation, a bronchoscopic intervention designed to disrupt pulmonary nerve reflexes, which could reduce lung attacks. 

Ascension St. Vincent’s pulmonologist Jose Soto-Soto successfully treated a patient in the study in an hourlong outpatient procedure at its Riverside campus.

“Many of our COPD patients experience lung attacks that can’t be controlled with their inhaler medications,” Soto-Soto said in a news release. “As doctors, we should embrace the development of interventional therapies that can potentially stabilize COPD patients and help reduce their risk of exacerbation.”

Vivity Lens

Florida Eye Specialists ophthalmologist Kathryn B. Freidl

At Florida Eye Specialists, ophthalmologist Kathryn B. Freidl was the first in Northeast Florida to perform cataract surgery with the Vivity Lens, an option that performs better for patients who have had LASIK, or have glaucoma, macular degeneration or dry eye, Freidl said in an email.

Florida Eye Specialists operates seven locations in Northeast Florida.

The Vivity Lens.

The Vivity Lens is not a multifocal lens, like many other cataract lenses. For patients with those conditions, a multifocal lens can impair their night vision and ability to read or see things within close range. It can eliminate the need for reading glasses for those patients, she said. 

“It means patients who don’t have a perfect eye can be candidates for a spectacle independent life,” Freidl said. 

The lens opens up the option for more patients to have cataract surgery. Friedl said about 30% of patients were not candidates for a multifocal cataract lens, but now are candidates to receive the Vivity Lens.

“Because we’re a multispecialty group, we see a lot of eyes that are not the normal run-of-the-mill healthy eye (that would qualify for the multifocal lens),” Friedl said.

“We see a higher level of eye disease, and often optometrists and general ophthalmologists refer these patients to us. So for our practice in particular, it’s wonderful to be able to offer this specialty lens to our patients, since so many of them can benefit from it.”


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