More than 22 million Americans have cataracts, a clouding of the lenses in the eyes, which can cause blindness if left untreated.
The prevalence of the condition, which affects about 16 percent of Americans who are 40 years and older, has made it the most common surgical procedure among beneficiaries of Medicare.
During a cataract surgery, doctors remove the clouded lens in a patient's eye and replace it with an artificial lens called intraocular lens, or IOL.
Many cataract surgeons currently check their patient's information in the operating room using notes that were made during office visits prior to the surgery, an inefficient process that takes extra work. This method of conducting cataract surgery, however, may change soon.
A collaboration between a multinational tech corporation and a 163-year-old eye health company may streamline the workflow of surgeons who perform cataract surgery and this may improve doctors' efficiency and boost patient care.
On May 5, IBM announced that it is working with Bausch + Lomb to develop a first-of-its-kind iOS app for cataract surgeons.
The app aims to provide surgeons with an easy means to compile and manage patient information, which includes lifestyle preferences as well as biometric data such as IOL calculations and corneal topography to help facilitate surgical planning and procedure.
The app is set to give doctors clinical insights that will help them select the right IOL before surgery as well as eliminate the need to use paper notes during operations. With the app, doctors will have the option to refer to notes on their Apple device as well as on display screens in the operating room.
The new mobile technology can potentially change how doctors conduct cataract procedures beginning from the planning stage up to postoperative follow-up.
"We look forward to bringing the benefits of mobile technology to some of the world's busiest surgeons - cataract surgeons," said Mahmoud Nagshineh, general manager, Apple partnership at IBM. "The new app we will create will equip ophthalmologists with the data they need at their fingertips to help them make better, more informed decisions for their patients."
Pilot testing of the new app is set to begin later this year.