Like Night and Day

Cataract surgery clears vision, eliminates glasses.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

JoAnne rates the results of her cataract surgery as miraculous.

An annual trip back home to New Jersey to see their children, grandchildren and old friends has been a fixture on Dan and JoAnne Seib’s summertime calendar for as long as the couple has been living in Florida, which is right at a dozen years now.

The trip is usually one of the highlights of the entire family’s year, a joyous occasion for one and all. For JoAnne, though, the trip the couple made in the summer of 2018 to attend their grandson’s high school graduation was nothing short of miserable.

Cataracts were the reason.

“I’d found out a year or two ago that cataracts were forming in both my eyes, but they didn’t seem that bad, and so I kept putting off having the surgery to get them taken care of,” JoAnne explains. “Then we made our usual trip back north last summer.

“My husband did all the driving, and I was his co-pilot, but it was a horrible trip for me.

My husband would point something out and say, Did you see that? and I’d say, No, I can’t see a thing. I was having trouble reading road signs and things like that.

“And the halos around lights at night were awful. It was actually kind of creepy. I had to strain my eyes to see or read anything, even my grandchildren. I couldn’t see them clearly at all, so like I said, it was a really horrible, disappointing trip for me.”

A Common Occurrence

JoAnne’s symptoms were typical of anyone suffering with cataracts, which develop naturally as a result of either a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers, a clumping of the eye’s proteins or both.

There is no known way to prevent or slow the development of cataracts, which form as part of the natural aging process in people 55 and older, but surgery to remove cataracts has become one of the more common procedures in all of medicine.

With a break of a week or two in between, physicians typically perform cataract surgery by correcting one eye at a time in an outpatient setting. The clouded, natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.

Like contact lenses, IOLs are available in different focusing powers. Standard IOLs correct a patient’s vision primarily for distance, while multifocal IOLs can correct a patient’s vision for both distance and reading.

JoAnne’s vacation experience convinced her the time had come for her to undergo cataract surgery, and on the recommendation of her eye doctor, she chose board-certified ophthalmologist Alexandra Kostick, MD, of Atlantic Eye Center, to do the work.

Recognized throughout the ophthalmologic field as one of its most accomplished surgeons, Dr. Kostick has been successfully treating complex cases for 23 years. At her Palm Coast office, she put that experience to work in treating JoAnne.

“How I see now is like night and day compared to the way I was seeing before the surgeries. It’s almost too good to be true.” – JoAnne

“JoAnne came to me in October of last year, and she knew that her vision had already become very, very poor, but she wanted to know if there was any chance at all that new glasses might make a difference for her,” Dr. Kostick reports.

“So, we did what we call a mini-refraction, which is a test we do right here in the office to see if we could sharpen her vision. Unfortunately, there was no way we were going to get around those cataracts. There was nothing new glasses could do to help her.”

Other medical issues forced JoAnne to wait until March to have her first surgery, but when she finally had it done, she was fit with a multifocal IOL that eliminated her need for glasses of any kind, even reading glasses.

To ensure that outcome, Dr. Kostick made use of a special diagnostic tool called the ORA, which stands for Optiwave Refractive Analysis and provides precise measurements of the shape of the eye after the cataract has been removed.

The ORA machine is not a standard piece of equipment. Not all cataract surgeons have access to one, but Dr. Kostick has one at the surgery center where she operates, and it is critical to successful surgeries, especially in difficult cases, Dr. Kostick emphasizes.

“The ORA finetunes the power and therefore narrows the selection of the intraocular lens implant that is implanted in the patient’s eye after the natural lens has been removed,” Dr. Kostick educates. “And it’s done while I’m performing the surgery.

“There’s no way that our preop measurements can compete with that. It makes the patient’s end result much, much better. A good end result, of course, includes the patient seeing extremely well, and that’s what we got with JoAnne.”

Family-Like Atmosphere

“How I see now is like night and day compared to the way I was seeing before the surgeries,” JoAnne says. “It’s almost too good to be true. I really can’t explain how wonderful it is to be seeing so clearly again.

“When we made our trip back home to New Jersey this year, it was a very emotional experience for me. I could see my grandchildren clearly and how beautiful they are, and I could read in the car without glasses.

“At home, I can read the news crawl on the bottom of the TV. I couldn’t do that before. I can even see dust on the furniture that I couldn’t see before. And colors are so much brighter and more spectacular. It’s like a miracle happened.

“And Dr. Kostick – I just can’t explain how wonderful she is. Everyone in her office treated us so well. They treated us like we were part of their family, and I highly, highly recommend her. She’s great.”

A family-like atmosphere is a big part of what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She is proud to be treating the sons, daughters and grandchildren of patients she has been treating for years.

“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 staff at Atlantic Eye Center 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