A Fine Art

Cataract surgery clears vision.

After 32 years as an educator, first as an elementary school teacher and then as an assistant principal in Baltimore County, Maryland, Barbara Lupoli was enjoying her first week of retirement here in Florida when fate intervened and altered her life path.

 Barbara Lupoli is an artist; she had cataract surgery and is seeing much better now, thanks to the fine work of Dr. Kostick and her staff.

Cataract surgery has given Barbara “crystal clear” vision.

“I was here on vacation, and a voice from heaven told me to move to Ormond-by-the-Sea,’’ Barbara explains. “I had been to Daytona Beach in 1970 for spring break, so I knew the area, but I’d never heard of Ormond-by-the-Sea, which is a little hamlet up here.

“I just knew it was God’s voice or that of an angel telling me my destiny lay in Florida, so I went off on my next incarnation on this planet, and I am so grateful that I did because I met my second husband and found my new passion here.

Barbara’s new passion is art. Her bold, colorful, abstract paintings and a few of her Florida landscapes are on display at two galleries, one in St. Augustine and another on Beach Street in Daytona Beach, where her work can also be purchased.

“I had no idea I was an artist,’’ says Barbara, whose new career began when she started taking art classes 14 years ago. “I never had an art teacher, but they have all these art leagues and clubs and shows here, and I’m having the time of my life with it.”

Those good times were interrupted a while back when a vision issue suddenly arose. Interestingly, it was not while creating her art that Barbara noticed she was having difficulty seeing clearly but while she was engaged in another one of her regular pastimes.

“I could see just fine when I was doing my art because when you’re doing big abstracts, there isn’t a lot of detail work,’’ Barbara explains. “The problem I had was doing crossword puzzles. All of a sudden, it was like I was looking through a fuzzy screen or something.

“This was about three years ago, and at first, I thought I just needed a more powerful pair of reading glasses. New glasses didn’t help, though, and neither did cleaning my glasses. I tried using eye drops, because I have dry eyes, but that didn’t help either.”

After her attempts to correct her vision problem through the most basic fixes all failed, Barbara turned to her eye doctor, board-certified ophthalmologist Alexandra Kostick, MD, at Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast for help.

Dr. Kostick, who offers a wide range of services, including cataract screenings, glaucoma screenings and upper eyelid blepharoplasty, discovered during a routine examination that the cause of Barbara’s vision problem was cataracts.

A Natural Development

Cataracts develop naturally in about 90 percent of all people 65 or older, usually from a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers, a clumping of the eye’s proteins, or both. They typically cause blurred vision, an increase in sensitivity to light and a reduction in color vibrancy.

Though cataracts usually develop slowly, they can be corrected quickly and easily through an outpatient surgical procedure where the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.

After examining Barbara, Dr. Kostick immediately scheduled her for cataract surgery. Prior to surgery, the doctor and the patient must agree on the specific type of IOL the patient will have implanted.

Standard IOLs correct a patient’s vision primarily for distance, meaning the patient may still need to wear glasses for reading. Patients can also have one eye corrected for distance vision while the other is corrected for reading, a process called monovision.

Barbara chose to receive standard lenses, in part because she has long been accustomed to wearing reading glasses when she reads or does her crossword puzzles. She says she was amazed at how detailed and thorough the entire process is.

“They double and triple-check everything to make sure you’re getting the best possible outcome,’’ she says. “It’s well crafted and well thought out. Dr. Kostick and her staff are there to help you through every step along the way.

“Before you even have the surgery, they go over everything you need to do beforehand to make sure you’ve got that down, and afterward, they call you the very next day to make sure everything is okay. The best way to describe it is, they make you feel loved.”

One thing Barbara loves is the result of her surgery. She says her distance vision now measures 20/20 in both eyes and that her reading vision has improved to the point where she only needs reading glasses occasionally.

“I still wear my cheaters when I do crossword puzzles, but everything is crystal clear,’’ she says. “And now I can work on my computer without glasses. Before, not only did I need glasses to see the computer, but I had to sit very close to it. Not anymore.”

Family-Like Atmosphere

As a longtime patient of Dr. Kostick’s, Barbara says she knew all along that she was getting the best care a cataract patient could possibly get. Dr. Kostick managed to impress Barbara with her personalized care nevertheless.

“Dr. Kostick is absolutely the best there is,” Barbara exudes. “She’s so thorough and dedicated to what she does. She’s no-nonsense, too, but when she’s working with you, she has a way of making you feel as if she’s working with a family member.

“Her staff is the same way. They’re all so phenomenal. From the people that greet you to the technicians that help
Dr. Kostick perform all the tests, it’s a great team, and I consider myself fortunate to have found them.”

A family-like atmosphere is a big part of what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She is proud to be treating the sons, daughters and grandchildren of patients she has been treating for years.

“Our patients become part of our extended family,” Dr. Kostick asserts. “We strive to make them comfortable by creating a very caring environment. They know they are going to be treated with a personal touch whenever they come here.”

A strong reputation in the community is also something the staff at Atlantic Eye Center strives to maintain.

“I think word of mouth is very important for doctors, and we pride ourselves on the referrals we get,” Dr. Kostick adds. “I can honestly say that my staff go out of their way to ensure that people are cared for to our utmost capability.”

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    • Atlantic Eye Center

      Flagler County’s leading female board-certified ophthalmologist, serving the county since 1996, is at Atlantic Eye Center. Benefits the center offers you include: A multi-trained and highly regarded doctor Unparalleled eye care experi... Read More

    • Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC

      Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. After earning her medical degree at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Dr. Kostick served a mixed surgery internship at St. Boniface Hospital at... Read More