Cataract Surgery Clears Visual Fog

Amazing outcome eliminates need for Rx glasses.

Edward Holbrook woke up most mornings to another foggy day.
“I began to realize this fog followed me around,” he recalls. “Whether I was in Vero Beach or Georgia or Tennessee, it was always foggy. But it really wasn’t foggy at all. I was just not seeing clearly.”

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Edward Holbrook

Edward’s prescription glasses, which he’d worn for much of his life, no longer sufficiently corrected his vision.
“In Florida on the golf course in the summertime, the glasses tend to hold more perspiration than they help your vision,” Edward complains. “It’s very hard to keep them dry and clean.”
His longtime eye physician, Edward S. Branigan III, MD, of the Center for Advanced Eye Care in Vero Beach, recommended surgery after conducting a thorough examination and diagnosing Edward with cataracts. He resisted that advice for about four years.
“I heard stories from friends about bad outcomes,” shares Edward. “And I had a fear of having someone stick a foreign object into my eye. I wondered if it was really worth it.”
Dr. Branigan referred Edward to William J. Mallon, MD, also of the Center for Advanced Eye Care. After a comprehensive pre-operative exam, the cataract specialist performed separate surgeries about two weeks apart on Edward.
For each procedure, his eye was anesthetized with drops before Dr. Mallon made an incision of less than three millimeters in the side of Edward’s cornea – the clear structure covering the front of the eye – and inserted a tiny probe. It emitted ultrasound waves that softened and broke up Edward’s lens, which was then suctioned out. Dr. Mallon next replaced Edward’s natural lens with a standard monofocal intraocular lens.
“Probably sixty percent of our patients get what we consider a standard monofocal lens, and they do very, very well with that,” Dr. Mallon notes. “It’s all about finding out what the patient wants and what their needs are.”
Other options are multifocal lenses, which provide distance and near focus at the same time; accommodative lenses, which move or shape the inside of the eye, allowing focusing at different distances; and toric lenses to correct an astigmatism.
Dr. Mallon and his staff at the Center for Advanced Eye Care helped Edward feel calm and relaxed before his surgeries, he says, and they were very efficient.
“It took no more than an hour to an hour and a half from the time I arrived at the surgery center until I was walking out the door to go home,” Edward recounts. “The surgery itself was probably no more than five to eight minutes long.”

How Cataracts Develop

Edward isn’t alone in facing deteriorating eyesight; everyone develops a cataract eventually, typically by their mid 60s. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people older than 40 and the principal cause of blindness in the world.
The eye’s lens works similar to a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina to achieve clear vision. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus so people can see up close and at a distance.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Edward no long needs prescription glasses
on the golf course.

Lying behind the iris and the pupil, the lens is made up mostly of water and protein. The protein is arranged so that the lens stays clear and allows light to pass through it. But as people age, the protein clumps together and cloud the lens, resulting in a cataract.
Because cataracts progress slowly, people sometimes don’t notice they’re having difficulty seeing until it greatly impacts their normal activities. Their vision may become blurred, akin to looking through a cloudy piece of glass or viewing an impressionist painting. Colors may appear less bright. Light from the sun, a lamp or oncoming headlights at night may cause more glare than before.
“I did get to the point where I preferred not to drive at night,” Edward relates. “It was just not comfortable.”
Strong bifocals, magnifiers, better lighting and other aids can help for a while, but those are only stopgap solutions. Over time, the cataract may get bigger and obscure more of the lens, reducing the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.

Simple, Safe, Effective

Poor vision doesn’t have to be an inevitable fact of aging. Cataract surgery is simple and is the most frequent operation performed in America.
After the fog lifted, Edward’s vision was clear for the first time in years.
“It’s just amazing,” he marvels.
“He’s pretty much 20/20 with both eyes together, and he’s got good midrange vision,” Dr. Mallon reports.
Edward’s eyesight is now on par with someone in his mid 40s, adds the doctor.
The phenomenal improvement in his vision has greatly benefitted Edward’s driving, especially at night. He and his wife don’t travel as much as they used to but still visit family in other states.
Edward is also happy he no longer wears prescription glasses, though he does need “cheaters” to read fine print.
He has nothing but praise for his experience at the Center for Advanced Eye Care.
“I was treated with kindness by everyone I came into contact with,” he reports.
The doctors and staff at the center pride themselves on fostering a caring environment.
“We want people in our office who care about and genuinely like people,” Dr. Mallon confirms. “We hire people based on their personality more than their skill set because we know we can train people to learn what we want them to learn.
“When we hire someone, we tell them, Plan on being here for twenty years,” he continues. “We’re bringing somebody into our family, and we want them to fit into our philosophy. We do our best to take care of people and let them have the best experience they can have. We don’t ever like to have a patient who’s unhappy with anything we do.”
The center is also known for its expertise and efficiency.
“We don’t like to waste people’s time, but we are very thorough,” Dr. Mallon asserts. “If we’re spending extra time, it’s with a patient who needs it. Our philosophy is: Make people happy and do the best you can for them at all times.”
Edward’s only regret is that he waited so long to get his cataracts removed.
“Dr. Branigan told me it would get to a point where I would get tired of messing with glasses and get the procedure done,” Edward shares. “And he said, The day you do it, you will kick yourself for not having it done a whole lot sooner. He was right.”

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    • Center For Advanced Eye Care

      The caring staff at Center for Advanced Eye Care welcome your questions regarding ophthalmology and ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery. To schedule an appointment, please contact Center for Advanced Eye Care, located at 3500 US Hwy... Read More

    • William J. Mallon, MD

      William J. Mallon, MD, is board certified by the prestigious American Board of Ophthalmology. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, East Lansing, he was awarded his medical degree from Wayne State Uni... Read More

    • Adam M. Katz, MD

      Adam M. Katz, MD, is board certified by the prestigious American Board of Ophthalmology. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Union College in New York, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, he was awarded his medical degr... Read More

    • J. Michael Schnell, MD

      J. Michael Schnell, MD, is board certified by the prestigious American Board of Ophthalmology. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Dickinson College and a Master’s degree in counseling from Colgate University, Dr. Schnell was awa... Read More

    • Sarah S. Khodadadeh, MD

      Sarah S. Khodadadeh, MD, is board certified by the prestigious American Board of Ophthalmology. She received her undergraduate degree in microbiology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and her Master of Science and medical degre... Read More

    • Edward S. Branigan III, MD

      Edward S. Branigan III, MD, is board certified by the prestigious American Board of Ophthalmology. He received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University, and then graduated from Downstate Medical Center. Following an internal medi... Read More