An Eye on the World

Cataract surgery brings back clear, crisp vision.

From Madagascar to Ecuador, John Walker’s fascinating career, first as an archaeologist and then as an anthropologist studying primate behavior, has allowed the transplanted native of Cleveland, Ohio to see a lot of the world.

Former archaeologist and anthropologist Christopher went to see Dr. Emery at Pasadena Eye Center for his cataract surgery.

“Colors are much brighter, my distance vision is crisper and I no longer need magnification to read or see things up close.” – John

“I’ve been very fortunate,” the 71-year-old retiree now living in Gulfport says. “I worked in those fields for thirty-five-plus years and have also worked as a conservationist doing ecological studies in a lot of rural areas, so I have seen a lot.”

Late last spring, the world John was seeing began to change a bit. The brightness of the day began to fade, and his view of the horizon became blurry. Seeing well enough to drive after dark soon became a bit of an issue as well.

“I wasn’t seeing as clearly at night anymore,” John reveals. “My night vision wasn’t terrible; I wasn’t at a point where I thought it was dangerous, but I started driving less and less at night. It just seemed easier to avoid it, especially if it was raining or something.

“At first, I chalked that and everything else up to dry eye syndrome. I have had that problem for a while, and I thought that was probably the cause of the blurriness. I’m sure that was indeed part of the problem, but then I started to have trouble reading.

“I read a lot, and I’ve used low-level magnification, like plus one and a quarter, for years. But then even that became more difficult. I tried a few different strengths of magnification and different lighting, but that didn’t seem to make it any better.”

The mounting problems left John thinking that his fading vision might be the result of an issue more serious than dry eye syndrome. Indeed, he had been warned of the likely development of such an issue three years earlier.

During a routine eye examination performed by Nathan Emery, MD, at Pasadena Eye Center, John was told he had a cataract developing in his right eye. A year later, during another annual exam, John was told he had a cataract developing in his left eye.

“Dr. Emery told me the one in my left eye probably wasn’t even noticeable yet, but that the one in my right eye was definitely developing,” John remembers. “He said it wasn’t a problem that needed to be corrected just yet, but that if it got worse to let him know.”

A Common Occurrence

The development of cataracts is not uncommon. By the age of 65, more than 90 percent of all people will have developed a cataract. Meanwhile, more than half of all people between the ages of 75 and 85 have lost vision due to cataracts.

Though cataracts are most often a result of aging and the natural bonding of the protein that, along with water, makes up the eye’s lens, heavy smoking, diabetes and unprotected overexposure to the sun can also cause cataracts to develop.

That development can begin many years before any symptoms are noticed, and while they do develop at different rates, they typically result in a clouding of the lens that leads to blurred vision, a reduction in the vibrancy of colors and poor night vision.

An increase in the glare caused by bright lights can also be a symptom of cataracts, a condition that can easily be corrected through an outpatient procedure in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.

With a break of a week or two in between, physicians usually correct one eye at a time by using an ultrasonic device that breaks up the cloudy, natural lens. Once that old lens is removed, the intraocular lens is implanted, permanently correcting the vision.

As his symptoms increased, John developed a strong suspicion they were the byproduct of fast-developing cataracts. That belief was confirmed last fall during John’s annual visit with
Dr. Emery at Pasadena Eye Center.

“John’s situation followed the typical pattern for cataracts,” Dr. Emery explains. “They usually start out mild and then gradually, over time, progress to the point where patients notice several visual changes.

“In general, the quality of vision becomes far less sharp and clear, and once a patient has reached that point and decides to move forward with surgery, it’s really just a matter of deciding what type of lens implant they want.”

An Array of Options

Thanks to a number of technological advances, patients opting for surgery have several different forms of corrective intraocular lenses to choose from. Standard lenses, for example, are designed to correct farsightedness or nearsightedness, but they won’t correct an astigmatism or presbyopia, which is the need for reading glasses.Former archaeologist and anthropologist Christopher went to see Dr. Emery at Pasadena Eye Center for his cataract surgery.

Patients can also choose to have one eye corrected for distance vision while the other is corrected for near vision. This option is called monovision, which is also used as a corrective treatment with patients who choose to wear contact lenses instead of glasses.

Finally, there are multifocal lenses. Considered the gold standard in intraocular lenses, multifocal lenses can correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia, thereby eliminating the need for glasses of any kind.

“After discussing all the options with John, he thought the multifocal lenses made the most sense for him,” Dr. Emery notes. “We then decided to go with the Symfony® lens, which is one of the latest to come out and has some big adv aantages over the other multifocals.

“The prior multifocals tended to give pretty good up-close and distance vision, but the intermediate vision wasn’t great. With these latest Symfony lenses, the patient gets a better quality of vision in all the aspects – distance, intermediate and near.”

Improved vision in all aspects is not the only advantage of the Symfony lens. John’s new lenses include a toric component similar to that used in eyeglasses and contact lenses that corrects astigmatism. John began to notice the benefits of his new lenses almost immediately.

“First of all, there was no pain associated with the procedure whatsoever,” informs John, who had his right eye corrected first this past January and returned two weeks later to have the left eye corrected. “All I felt was a slight bit of pressure.

“And then, just like that, the procedure was over. I think the whole thing took about fifteen minutes per eye. Afterward, there are some eye drops that you need to take, but that’s it, and your vision starts to come back relatively quickly.

“I was able to read without glasses in short bursts right away, and my vision just continued to improve after that. Now, colors are much brighter, my distance vision is crisper and I no longer need magnification to read or see things up close.”

John has been a patient of Dr. Emery for several years and says he has often recommended him to friends and family members looking for eye care. Following his cataract surgeries, John says he rates Dr. Emery and the entire staff at Pasadena Eye Center as excellent.

“After each eye procedure, they send you one of those forms to fill out to rate how well they did, with one being poor and five being excellent,” John reveals. “Dr. Emery and his staff got fives from me of course. They did a great job.”

Print This Article
    • Pasadena Eye Center

      The doctors and staff of Pasadena Eye Center are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality eye care, and they offer the latest advancements in ophthalmology.... Read More

    • David E. Hall, MD

      David E. Hall, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He graduated from the University of Mississippi and received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He completed his internship at Erlanger Hospital and... Read More

    • Nathan R. Emery, MD

      Nathan R. Emery, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He completed his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, before serving a two-year mission in England. Upon his return to the United States, he completed his medi... Read More

    • Dennis C. Ryczek, OD

      Dennis C. Ryczek, OD, is a Florida-certified optometrist. He attended St. Petersburg Junior College and the University of South Florida. He graduated summa cum laude with a doctorate in optometry from the University of Houston, TX, and c... Read More