Precision laser removes cataracts in people with astigmatism.
Married for 46 years, William and Janet Martin retired to the Sunshine State two decades ago from Michigan. “We don’t miss the snow one bit,” Janet assures. “The winter months here are glorious compared to up north.”
Instead of shoveling snow, the couple now spend their days enjoying their view of the Gulf of Mexico from their Gulfport home. They stay active by exercising regularly and getting out in their community.
“We keep busy here, that’s for sure,” Janet says. “There are always some activities to do nearby. There’s no slowing us down.”
In recent years, however, the cataracts that developed in both William’s and Janet’s eyes began affecting their daily routine.
“I sing in a choir and I noticed that I was having a hard time reading the sheet music,” Janet shares. “Driving at night was something I avoided because of the glare from oncoming headlights. I also had trouble with certain colors. For example, I couldn’t distinguish between black and blue very well at all.”
Janet suspected that the cataracts she was diagnosed with several years ago were finally at a point where they needed to be removed. She sought the expertise of Nathan R. Emery, MD, board-certified ophthalmologist at Pasadena Eye Center where she was an existing patient.
“Cataracts are something all of us develop as we age, and the only way to ultimately eliminate them is through surgery,” Dr. Emery explains.
When cataracts develop, people describe a variety of symptoms, including a loss in the vibrancy of colors or the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions. It also becomes increasingly difficult to read, especially in low-light situations.
“Janet described several of these symptoms to me, as well as her difficulty seeing at night. The clouding of the lens can result in diffraction of light entering your eye. This can cause a halo to appear around light sources, such as the headlights of oncoming cars. Rings around every light, sometimes in a variety of colors, can make driving very difficult. After some testing I determined that it was indeed time for her to have cataract surgery.”
In addition to the cataracts increased progression, Janet also had astigmatism. Astigmatism is a result of irregular corneal shape that can distort vision at all distances.
After You, Dear
William says that one perk of living on the water is being able to enjoy the colorful sunsets Florida has to offer.
With his cataracts getting worse, William says those sunsets were often disappointing.
“There was an increased blur and the colors were just off,” he says. “I do a lot of reading, and I could tell that even with glasses on, I was straining to see the words on the pages. Like Janet, I had trouble seeing at night when driving.”
After witnessing the success Janet had with her surgery, William, who also had astigmatism, decided to have Dr. Emery perform his surgery as well.
“She was the guinea pig,” William laughs. “I told her you go ahead and have your surgery first and I’ll see how you do. It was a piece of cake for her, it really was. I decided to have Dr. Emery perform my cataract surgery also.”
Pasadena Eye Center is thrilled to be able to offer patients like William and Barbara femtosecond laser technology to treat their astigmatism while removing the cataracts.
The femtosecond (bladeless) laser surgery is the most technologically advanced cataract surgery in patients with astigmatism. This laser provides unmatched accuracy, as each procedure is customized to the specific patient’s eye.
“Removing the cataract does not necessarily correct the astigmatism,” Dr. Emery explains, “but with this technology we use this laser to change the shape of theeye and correct that astigmatism at the same time. This laser was made specifically for cataract patients with astigmatism.”
“With the femtosecond laser-assisted tool, the laser makes the incisions, both at the surface of the eye and inside the eye. It is consistently a precise incision,” Dr. Emery explains. “We commonly refer to the incision that treats astigmatism as an LRI, which stands for limbal relaxing incision.”
The laser divides the cataract into segments that are removed. The surgery can be performed with greater efficiency and accuracy using the femtosecond laser.
Oh, So Many Choices
It is routine for patients to have Intraocular Lens (IOL) implants after cataract removal. Based on the health of the eye and factors determined in the exam, Dr. Emery, along with the patient, decides which lenses to use. Many factors are taken into consideration when choosing a lens, including the needs of the patient and their long-term goals.
Monofocal lens: These lenses are the most commonly implanted lenses today. They have equal power in all regions of the lens and can provide high-quality vision. Monofocal lenses are in sharpest focus at only one distance. Patients who have monofocal intraocular lenses implanted usually require reading glasses.
Multifocal lens: Multifocal intraocular lenses are one of the latest advancements in lens technology. These lenses have a variety of regions with different powers that allow some individuals to see at distance, intermediate and near ranges. While promising, multifocal lenses are not for everyone. They can cause more glare than monofocal or toric lenses, and some patients still require glasses or contact lenses to achieve the clearest vision.
Toric lens: Toric lenses have more power in one specific region in the lens, especially to correct for higher amounts of astigmatism. Some patients require both LRI by femtosecond laser and toric lenses to correct the full amount of astigmatism. Toric lenses are also used to correct distance vision. While toric lenses can improve both distance vision and astigmatism, the patient will still require corrective lenses for all near tasks, such as reading or writing.
Healthy Eyes for Life
Dr. Emery stresses the importance of annual eye exams to check for diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
“Various diseases can develop that can cause damage in their initial phase, that the person is unaware of until it is too late to reverse the damage, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration,” he explains. “We call those the ‘silent thieves of sight.’ Those are great examples of reasons to have an annual eye exam to make sure those diseases are not developing.”
Both William and Janet say they are very pleased with the results of their surgery.
“The sunsets are wonderful again,” William says. “I can distinguish colors like never before.”
Janet says she can read her sheet music without difficulty and says the surgery was easier than she even thought it would be.
“I don’t need my glasses on to read the music anymore,” Janet shares. “Dr. Emery was very reassuring and explained everything beforehand. I just think his demeanor and his skill are second to none. We have recommended them to several friends and will continue to do so. The practice is wonderful!”