For All To See

Replacement lens brings the entire world back into focus.

When he built his retirement home in Palm Coast 25 years ago, Bill Nelson made sure it was big enough to allow for regular visits from his sons and daughters, scattered across the country. As it turns out, he could have downsized from the beginning.

Dr. Kostick and Bill in the Atlantic Eye Center giving the thumbs up while being COVID compliant.

Dr. Kostick (left) and Bill each give the PanOptix lens two thumbs up.

“It hasn’t worked out the way we thought it would,” Bill says with a chuckle. “We have family all over, in Indiana, Washington, California, Virginia, Michigan and Massachusetts; and we visit them more than they visit us. We just have more time on our hands.”

When he didn’t have as much time on his hands, Bill worked as a general manager for a Boston-based grocer catering to hospitals, schools and restaurants. Like many, he moved to Florida for the weather, which the 79-year-old takes full advantage of.

“I play a little golf, and I have a pool and like to swim,” Bill says. “I will say, though, that I do miss the weather up north a little bit when it gets really hot in the summer here. Other than that, we really love it in Florida.”

Bill’s appreciation for Florida has increased markedly in recent months thanks to the correction of a vision problem that affects more than half of the people in his age group: cataracts.

A clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, cataracts are caused by a normal breakdown of the lens fibers, a clumping of the eye’s proteins or both. It was about two years ago that Bill was diagnosed.

“My optometrist told me I had a slight cataract developing in my right eye and it would eventually need to be taken care of,” Bill remembers. “The funny thing about it is I never really noticed a problem with my eyesight.

“My glasses prescription kept changing, but I was still able to read and see things. The only real problem I had was at night. My night vision had become pretty bad, but I had to wear glasses anyway, so I never thought much about it.”

This past May, however, Bill learned his vision could no longer be corrected by changing his eyeglass prescription, and his eye doctor recommended a visit to Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, at Atlantic Eye Center.

Consider Yourself…

“Bill first came to see me on June 1,” Dr. Kostick reports. “During my initial examination, I discovered he had some good-sized cataracts in both eyes, so we discussed surgery and his options for replacement lenses.”

Cataract surgery is typically performed on one eye at a time, with a break of a week or two in between, in an outpatient setting. During the procedure, the clouded, natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.

IOLs are made of acrylic or silicone, and coated with special material to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. During surgery, the IOL is rolled up and placed in the eye, where it unfolds and is held in place by two side structures called haptics.

Like contact lenses, IOLs are available in different focusing powers. Standard IOLs typically correct distance vision, while multifocal IOLs can correct distance and near vision in much the way bifocals or bifocal contacts do.

Recently, the most advanced IOL yet, the trifocal PanOptix lens that corrects distance, intermediate and near vision, was made available in the United States. Dr. Kostick believes there is no other like it.

“Most multifocal lenses correct only distance and near vision, or distance and intermediate vision,” she explains “With the PanOptix lens, you can see in the distance clearly, you can read clearly and you can see things in the intermediate range, such as a computer screen, clearly.

“We’re also learning that the patient’s visual recovery from surgery comes quicker after implanting the PanOptix lens. That’s why the PanOptix lens is now the lens I recommend for all my patients who want multifocal lenses.”

Recognized as one of the most accomplished surgeons in the ophthalmologic field, Dr. Kostick recommended the PanOptix for Bill, who was fit with a toric version because of an astigmatism in his left eye.

An astigmatism is an imperfect curvature of the lens that causes blurred vision. If not corrected with a toric lens or through another procedure, a patient undergoing cataract surgery will still need glasses to see clearly following surgery.

“One thing I love to do is read, and I love that I don’t need to find a pair of reading glasses to do that anymore.” – Bill

“Bill also had a slight astigmatism in his right eye, but it wasn’t as bad as the one in his left eye, so we were able to correct that by doing a special incision, which relaxes the curvature during his surgery,” Dr. Kostick reports. “Since that surgery, he’s done really well.”

Bill says he was “shocked” by how much better his vision became following surgery. Even after having just one eye corrected, he was already seeing better than he had in decades.

“All of a sudden, colors were brighter and more vibrant, and everything was so much clearer,” Bill exudes. “Before I got my second eye done, I would cover up the other eye and everything I saw out of the eye with the cataract in it was kind of brown and dingy. But once that eye was corrected, I could see clear out of both eyes, like when I was kid.

“One thing I love to do is read, and I love that I don’t need to find a pair of reading glasses to do that anymore. I also like that I don’t need glasses to drive. I can see everything with great clarity. It’s just tremendous.

“Dr. Kostick is very thorough and very professional, and her staff did a great job with me. They’re always friendly and they treat you like family.”

Part of the Family

A family-like atmosphere is what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She is proud to be treating not just her patients’ spouses, but also their children and grandchildren.

“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 Atlantic Eye Center staff 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 members 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