Just What The Doctor Ordered

An easy adjustment: no more glasses after surgery for glaucoma, cataracts.

In 1978, Long Island native Michael Rodriguez, DC, was just graduating from New York Chiropractic College when his father-in-law made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Dr. Rodriguez loves the freedom of not wearing glasses.

“He put a down payment on a house for me and my family in Florida,” Dr. Rodriguez recounts. “Our second child was just 1 month old when we moved, and we’ve been very happy here. The entire Central Florida region, especially Volusia County and Ormond Beach, has been a wonderful place to live and grow up.”

Dr. Rodriguez has always been interested in natural health, so chiropractic was a logical choice for him as a profession. He was also intrigued by Eastern medicine and philosophy as it relates to health care, which made acupuncture a natural adjunct to his chiropractic services. He added it to his practice in 1989.

“At the same time, I was interested in offering a full-service approach to health,” Dr. Rodriguez relates. “The clinic where I work, Ormond Medical Center, is a multidisciplinary clinic. We have medical doctors, chiropractors and acupuncturists all working together to provide a greater variety of treatment options for our patients.”

At age 71 and in his 42nd year of practice, Dr. Rodriguez shows no signs of slowing down. However, he recently experienced some changes in his vision due to a condition common in older adults.

“As a natural part of the aging process, the lenses in my eyes developed a cloudiness, known as cataracts,” he describes. “Mine progressed to the point that I was having difficulty seeing, even though I wore glasses 24/7. I was having trouble with my field of vision as well as depth of vision. My cellphone is black, and if it was laying on something black, I couldn’t see it until it lit up with a call.

“The onset of the visual disturbances caused by cataracts is insidious. It’s like watching your kids grow; you don’t see it because you’re with them every day. But if you visit your nieces and nephews that you haven’t seen in six months or a year, they seem to be growing quickly. It’s like that with your vision. You don’t notice as it slowly deteriorates because you acclimate to the changes.”

In addition to cataracts, Dr. Rodriguez lives with glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve usually caused by high pressure in the eye. Treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops to control the pressure.

“My mother had glaucoma and my grandmother lost her vision to glaucoma,” Dr. Rodriguez reflects. “I’ve been taking eye drops for my glaucoma for the past 15 years.”

For most of that time, Dr. Rodriguez has had his glaucoma treated at Premier Eye Clinic. When he began having trouble with cataracts, he was placed under the specialized care of board-certified ophthalmologist Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD.

“Dr. Rodriguez came to me with cataracts and open-angle glaucoma,” Dr. Ge recalls. “With this second condition, the fluid drainage area in the eye, called the trabecular meshwork, is not functioning properly, which causes fluid to build up in the eye and increases the eye pressure.

“The dual diagnosis of cataracts and open-angle glaucoma made Dr. Rodriguez an excellent candidate for combined cataract surgery and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, or MIGS, using the iStent inject®, a tiny titanium stent that assists with fluid drainage and lowers eye pressure.”

“Perfectly Normal”

“We performed the combined cataract surgery and MIGS on Dr. Rodriguez’s right eye in October 2019. He had astigmatism in his right eye, so a toric lens implant was placed in that eye to correct the astigmatism and eliminate the need for prescription glasses.”

Subsequently, Dr. Rodriguez underwent successful combined cataract surgery with lens implant and the iStent inject® procedure on his left eye in June of this year.

“To reduce Dr. Rodriguez’s dependence on glasses, we gave him ‘mini-monovision.’ His one eye was corrected for sharp 20/20 distance vision without glasses; and the other eye was corrected to be slightly nearsighted, so he can see his computer clearly without glasses,” Dr. Ge educates. “This strategy preserves his depth perception with greatly reduced need for glasses or contact lenses.”

“It’s a very unique feeling to not wear glasses after wearing them full time for 25 years. It makes me feel empowered.” – Dr. Rodriguez

MIGS is a brief add-on procedure performed at the same time as cataract surgery. It adds minimal risk to cataract surgery. During both of Dr. Rodriguez’s MIGS procedures, Dr. Ge implanted two iStent inject stents, which further increased the ability to bypass the extra fluid in his eyes.

“When I examined Dr. Rodriguez recently, his eye pressure was sitting at 10 in each eye without any glaucoma eye drops,” Dr. Ge reports. “The normal eye pressure ranges between 10 and 23, although every patient has their own targeted pressure, and this is determined based on multiple parameters. At 10, however, Dr. Rodriguez’s eye pressure is considered well-controlled.”

Startling Difference

“Implanting the stent was a simple procedure in Dr. Ge’s hands,” Dr. Rodriguez says. “I didn’t even know it was being done; it’s that quick. And it was successful. Now, my glaucoma numbers are perfectly normal, and I no longer need to use glaucoma medicine.”

The changes to Dr. Rodriguez’s vision from the cataracts and glaucoma developed slowly. But the improvement following cataract surgery with MIGS had an immediate impact.

“The difference in my vision after surgery was startling, and it made a huge difference in my life,” he affirms. “I use my eyes a lot in the course of my work, and these days I don’t wear glasses anymore. I use low-grade magnifiers for up-close reading, but anything that’s eight to 10 inches away or farther, I can see with no problem at all.

“It’s a very unique feeling to not wear glasses after wearing them full time for 25 years. It makes me feel empowered.”

Dr. Rodriguez is not only delighted by the results of his surgeries, he’s also quite pleased with the surgeon.

“Dr. Ge is extremely proficient and very professional,” he describes. “She does a wonderful work-up and gives a great explanation of what has to be done and how she does it using the latest technology and procedures in modern ophthalmology. The different technology and equipment she uses for these operations are amazing.

“When it comes to my eyes, I’m very keen on taking care of them. I highly recommend that people with eye conditions get under the care of a good ophthalmologist. And in my book, there’s none better than Dr. Ge!”

 

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    • Premier Eye Clinic

      Premier Eye Clinic provides comprehensive eye examinations and treatment for patients of all ages. Their board-certified ophthalmologist is highly experienced in advanced cataract surgery using a "no injection, no stitch, no patch" tech... Read More

    • Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD

      Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD, received her medical degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and her PhD from the University of California. She completed her internship at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and her o... Read More