In Capable Hands

A father trusts his daughter to perform his cataract surgery.

A seasoned world traveler, Al Kostick has visited all seven continents. Among the many unique and intriguing places whose borders he has crossed include Antarctica, Australia, South Africa, Europe, China, Singapore, Thailand, England, the South Pacific and the Sahara Desert. He’s also been on two cruises around the world.

Alexandra Kostick of Atlantic Eye Center performs cataract surgery on her father, Alexander Kostick.

Mr. Kostick and his daughter, Dr. Kostick, give a thumbs up now that his cataracts are gone.

A pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 43 years, Mr. Kostick says humanitarian missions took him to places like Northern Canada and the Arctic, including the North Pole.

“I’ve led a very fortunate life, and I am grateful for the travel experiences,” he says. “I still love to travel to this day. I haven’t slowed down much.”

In recent years, however, Mr. Kostick’s eyesight began to deteriorate.

Night driving became a daunting task, as he would close his left eye and use the right one to see. It became cumbersome for the crossword puzzle enthusiast to be able to complete puzzles. When at the gym, which he frequents daily, he could not read the closed captioning on the television screens.

For the last several years, Mr. Kostick has had annual eye exams conducted by his daughter, Alexandra Kostick, MD, at Atlantic Eye Center. During the exams, Dr. Kostick noticed the development of cataracts.

“I would drive with him in the car at night, and I could tell he was having problems seeing,” Dr. Kostick shares. “I told him that I wanted to have him come to the office right away so I could examine his eyes. I suspected the cataracts had worsened, and I was right.”

Instead of going to another surgeon to have the cataracts removed, Mr. Kostick trusted his eyesight to his daughter.

“I live in a condominium, and many of my neighbors there have gone to my daughter to have their cataracts removed, and they sing her praises,” Mr. Kostick says. “I knew who I wanted to do the surgery. Without a doubt, I wanted her to do it.”

But, Dr. Kostick wasn’t convinced.

“My initial thought was that one of my colleagues needed to do the surgery,” she explains. “He was insistent. He told me he would be disappointed if I did not do the surgery, and I couldn’t let him down. I finally agreed to do it.”

Daughter Knows Best

Cataracts are a gradual discoloration or clouding of the eye’s natural lens. People who have cataracts describe a variety of symptoms, including glare from oncoming headlights, a loss in the vibrancy of colors or the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions. Some patients experience no symptoms, while others report them in various combinations.

During cataract surgery, a small incision – measuring about one-eighth of an inch in length – allows the introduction of a small, ultrasonic probe that applies sound waves to the cataract, emulsifying it so gentle suction can remove the debris from the tiny capsular sac that protects the lens, and the natural lens of the eye is removed.

“The size of the incision is important because a smaller incision will allow faster healing without the need for stitches,”
Dr. Kostick explains.

Initially, Mr. Kostick only planned to have the cataract removed from his left eye, as the cataract in his right eye was not as advanced.

“That was his plan at first,” Dr. Kostick recalls. “But, once he saw how perfect his vision was in that left eye, he decided he was going to have the right eye done as well. What happened over the years is that his right eye was overcompensating for what the left eye was unable to see. As a result of that strain, it made the vision much worse in the right eye. Worse than he ever thought until he had his left eye done and he could really see the difference.”

Dr. Kostick recommended monofocal lenses for her father, the most commonly used lenses today. Monofocal lenses have equal power in all regions of the lens and provide high-quality distance vision. People who have had monofocal intraocular lenses implanted usually require reading glasses.

“My dad still has his reading glasses, which is something he wanted,”
Dr. Kostick explains. “Now, he sees perfectly again. He is 20/20 in both eyes.”

Word of Mouth

Dr. Kostick says she prides herself on her staff’s commitment to patients and patient retention.

“I have patients who have seen me for years, and now I have seen their kids and even their grandkids at times,” she says. “It is a family unit in the office, and we extend that feeling to the patient. We don’t just take care of one patient; we take care of entire families.

“Many of our patients come to us through word of mouth, and that, I think, is an indication of our status in the community of being a respectable practice.

“Where my father lives, it is a condominium, and a lot of the residents there come to my office. It’s wonderful. He has seen first-hand how word of mouth can make a huge difference.”

Dr. Kostick reaffirms that the eye care specialists at Atlantic Eye Center truly care about the well-being of their patients and their care.

“Each patient is unique, and we know that,” Dr. Kostick assures. “We treat each one as an individual and with a personalized approach. We don’t put patients on a conveyor belt and push them through the clinic. We take the time to talk with them and recognize their wants and needs. We are compassionate about the care we administer as a team.”

Today, Mr. Kostick sees perfectly and has no problems driving at night or working on his crossword puzzles. He continues to travel to far off places now and then.

“I still love flying and going to different places,” he assures. “I am glad my daughter agreed to do my surgery. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, and she knew it. I couldn’t trust my eyes to anyone else.”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Nerissa Johnson. Graphic from istockphoto.com.
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