Harmonic Symfony®

Crisp, clear vision without glasses.

Earl Michaels is an adopted Floridian. He’s Pennsylvania-born and Virginia-raised, but the professional engineer has lived in Tampa for the past 44 years of his life. Earl retired from his engineering career two years ago, but still works as landlord for an office building he owns with his wife. Another thing he always took care of was his vision, which was poor since his youth.

Dr. Craig Berger of Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa performed cataract surgery and placed Tecnis Symfony® intraocular lens implants in Earl Michaels’ eyes.

Earl Michaels

“My wife and I both had LASIK® vision correction surgery years ago,” he shares. “Then, about two years ago, I began to notice a deterioration in my vision, which I guessed was from cataracts.

“I was having to use reading glasses a lot, and I was becoming less comfortable driving at night. I saw halos around lights at night, and my vision was somewhat blurry. It was harder for me to read or recognize things at a distance. Probably the biggest problem was that I wasn’t seeing the golf ball after I hit it.”

Because Earl suspected cataracts, he began searching for qualified ophthalmic surgeons in the area to remove them. An acquaintance told him about Craig E. Berger, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmic surgeon at Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa.

“I started talking to people who had cataract procedures to see who they went to,” he states. “My wife knew someone who had it done, and she highly recommended Dr. Berger, so I made an appointment.

“Dr. Berger was quiet and reserved, but extremely professional. He absolutely knew what he was talking about. He’s also a perfectionist, very much like me. He had his staff rerun tests on me when he wasn’t satisfied with the way they were done the first time. He confirmed I had cataracts in both eyes, one eye more advanced than the other.”

Earl was particularly impressed with Dr. Berger’s perfectionism in determining the most appropriate artificial lenses to replace his natural lenses that had developed the cataracts. The new lenses are called intraocular lens (IOL) implants. Earl recalls Dr. Berger’s intense attention to detail while choosing his IOLs.

“Apparently, if you had prior surgery like LASIK, there are adjustments to the computerized readings done on your eyes that need to be made manually,” he describes. “Dr. Berger had to analyze those readings and make the adjustments to the results based on my eyes’ history. I’m not sure everybody does that.”

“Any refractive surgery, including LASIK, changes the curvature of the cornea, which is the transparent layer that forms the front part of the eye,” explains Dr. Berger. “That change makes the intraocular lens calculations extremely challenging.

“It’s much more complicated to determine implant power because of the way the cornea is altered,” he adds. “Our current equipment isn’t able to provide us with the precise measurements, so there’s more emphasis on the physician’s calculations.”

Once Dr. Berger had the detailed parameters for Earl’s lens implants, he began treatment of his cataracts with surgery on Earl’s left eye, which was worse than his right. Earl’s initial cataract surgery was performed in 2016.

“I saw improvement in my left eye right away,” Earl notes. “Within a week or so, I was 20/20 in that eye, and the problems I was having went away. About a year later, Dr. Berger performed cataract surgery on my right eye, as well.”

The Cataract Condition

In addition to his practice at Bay Area Eye Institute, Dr. Berger was an adjunct assistant professor of ophthalmology at University of South Florida Eye Institute for 15 years. With these two positions, he developed extensive expertise in cataracts and cataract surgery.

“Cataracts result from protein build-up in the lens of the eye, which prevents light from passing through and makes the vision look cloudy,” educates Dr. Berger. “Symptoms include cloudy or foggy vision, glare, difficulty seeing at night, loss of color intensity and double vision.”

A common problem, most cataracts are related to aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, most people by age 75 will have developed cataracts to the point that their vision is affected. Other factors, however, such as diabetes, sun exposure, smoking and a family history, can cause the condition to develop at a younger age.

“Cataracts typically become a problem later in life, but they actually start around the age of forty and progress at different rates in different people,” observes Dr. Berger. “For this reason, they can occur in younger people as well.”

Cataract surgery is generally done on an outpatient basis and involves removal of the affected lens and replacement with the IOL. One eye is done at a time, usually a few weeks apart. Earl was an exception, having his surgeries one year apart.

Informed Decision

Because Earl had LASIK, he faced the unique complication when it came to calculating the power of his IOL. But for Bay Area Eye Institute and Dr. Berger, this is a situation they face often.

“We specialize in complicated cases such as those in which the patient has a history of refractive surgery,” asserts Dr. Berger. “It’s important for these patients to know that they can still have successful cataract surgery. They are also candidates for premium lens implants, including multifocal lenses such as the ReSTOR® and the Tecnis Symfony lens.

“Multifocal toric lenses correct astigmatism and allow for near, far and intermediate vision. This full range of vision enables patients to be less dependent on eyeglasses and contact lenses.”

Before Dr. Berger made any recommendation to Earl, he explained the advantages and disadvantages of the various lens options to him. He also took the time to review Earl’s lifestyle and the activities he prefers in order to find the best lens match.

Dr. Craig Berger of Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa performed cataract surgery and placed Tecnis Symfony® intraocular lens implants in Earl Michaels’ eyes.

“I believe I got the excellent results I did because one, I shoce the Symfony Lens, and two, because Dr. Berger did the surgery.” -Earl

“I encourage all my patients to take the time to gain a clear understanding of the benefits of each of the different intraocular lenses before making a choice,” offers Dr. Berger, who, in addition to his practice at Bay Area Eye Institute, also spends one morning per week treating military veterans at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa.

“No one lens is ideal for everyone. Lenses come in many different sizes, with a variety of features and benefits. It’s important that I have an appreciation of my patient’s lifestyle before making any recommendation. Based on Earl’s lifestyle and vision needs, I recommended the Symfony toric lens for him, and he decided to go with it.”

Two-Sided Success

After his cataract surgeries, Earl’s eyesight was significantly improved, and the symptoms he experienced previously were a thing of the past.

“The last time Dr. Berger checked, my vision was 20/20 in both eyes,” he reports.

Earl’s convinced he achieved these exceptional outcomes for two important reasons.

“Today, my vision is clear, no more blurriness, and I’m not using reading glasses at all anymore. I can also see the golf ball much better now. That’s substantially improved. I believe I got the excellent results I did because one, I chose the Symfony lens, and two, because Dr. Berger did the surgery.”

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    • Bay Area Eye Institute

      Bay Area Eye Institute understands that there are many ophthalmologists and optometrists in the Tampa bay area to choose from. Dr. Berger’s practice focuses on patient satisfaction. His philosophy is to put the patient first, provide phys... Read More

    • Craig E. Berger, MD

      Craig E. Berger, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmic surgeon. After receiving his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Florida, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of South Fl... Read More