Miraculous Sight

Lens implant surgery returns vision to eye injured 55 years ago.

In 1965, New York City native Robert Bauries was making his living as a sheet metal worker, mostly installing air-conditioning and heating system ducts in new construction. Robert was quite content, then disaster struck while working at a jobsite in Connecticut.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Robert was amazed to have vision restored in his left eye 55 years after losing it in a construction accident.

“I was cutting a piece of steel, and it probably had a defect in it, because a piece of it flipped up into my left eye and cut it,” the 80-year-old recalls. “It wasn’t painful at the time, but I remember bending over and watching the fluid pour out of my eye.

“I went to the doctor right then and there, and they wanted to operate, but I said, No. It’s almost Thanksgiving; I want to go home. So, they gave me an injection and let me go. By the time I got home, I was like a raving maniac because my eye had become so painful.”

The next day, ophthalmologists operated on Robert’s left eye. They repaired the laceration and removed his natural lens, which was severely damaged by the steel, and he has been “essentially blind” in that eye ever since, he explains.

“If I rode in a car at night in the rain, and the windshield wipers weren’t turned on, I could see the little droplets of rain on the front of the windshield, but that’s all,” Robert says. “I couldn’t see anything else, even if a car passed by.

“After convalescing for nine months, the steelworkers’ union called me back to work. They made me a superintendent, but it was all wrong. I was never afraid of heights before, but I had become seriously afraid after losing sight in my left eye. I finally said, I’m not climbing up ladders anymore.

“After that, I gave up the sheet metal job and began selling big-ticket appliances for Sears. I worked for Sears for 16½ years, then moved to Florida in 1983. In Florida, I got involved in the real estate business. I retired around 1995.”

Plans A, B and C

In early 2020, Robert noticed that the vision in his right eye was getting blurry and became concerned. Robert consulted his primary care physician, who referred him to board-certified ophthalmologist Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD, at Premier Eye Clinic.

“When Robert first came to me he was having a lot of problems with allergic conjunctivitis, which is allergies affecting the surface of the eye,” Dr. Ge recalls. “So I treated him for that and he got better.

“Then, at the follow-up visit, he started to tell me that the vision in his left eye was very, very poor for a long time. So, once we had the allergy under control, we did a complete exam, and that’s when I found out he had scarring inside the left eye and that the left eye didn’t have the natural lens.”

The condition of having no natural lens inside an eye is called aphakia. It can be corrected through wearing a high-power contact lens, however, Robert was not able to wear any contact lens. Alternatively, this condition can be treated by placing a synthetic lens implant inside the eye through surgery. After thorough evaluation of Robert’s injured left eye, Dr. Ge recommended the surgical treatment.

The surgery Robert required is similar to the surgery performed to remove cataracts, which is a natural clouding of the eye’s lens. During cataract surgery, the cataract is removed and replaced with a synthetic intraocular lens implant.

“When I was younger, my vision was 20/10. With my new lens, I’m almost as perfect as I was before.” – Robert

“Robert’s surgery differed from cataract surgery in that he did not have a natural lens to be removed,” Dr. Ge describes. “In such cases, we refer to the procedure to insert a replacement lens as Secondary Intraocular Lens Implant.

“In addition, Robert had an irregularly shaped scar in the front window of his left eye, which is called the cornea. This scar caused the clear surface of his eye to be dome-shaped and irregular. I cautioned him that even after the lens replacement surgery, he would likely still need to wear eyeglasses. With the surgery, however, the glasses or contact lens he needed afterwards would be more conventional instead of high powered, and his vision without glasses would be greatly improved.”

Concerned about the possible risks associated with surgery on an eye this badly damaged, Dr. Ge created three scenarios based on potential complications that could arise during the procedure.

“With a severe eye injury such as Robert’s, something unforeseeable can occur,” Dr. Ge explains. “For example, there is a risk that the vitreous gel in the back of the eye could come forward, and the retina could come with it.

“As a result, additional steps or procedures may be required during such surgeries. So, I developed three plans, A, B and C, to provide for those contingencies, and when we went into the surgery we had everything we needed in case something unforeseeable happened.”

Thankfully, Robert’s surgery went smoothly and successfully, Dr. Ge reports. Robert now has 20/20 vision with slight nearsightedness in his left eye. For distance, he can see well enough in this eye to drive without glasses.

“A Happy Day” for Patient and Doctor

“It’s a miracle!” Robert raves. “Dr. Ge did a great job. She let me know beforehand what she was up against, so she went over everything about the surgery and told me, It could go this way or that way, but everything went fine and I could see much better even the very next day.”
“I was happy for him as well,” the surgeon relates.

“Robert’s surgery was a minor outpatient procedure, and yet it made a huge improvement in his quality of life and also his family’s. That is an ophthalmologist’s goal: to provide the utmost quality of care and improve or perfect the patient’s eyesight,” Dr. Ge emphasizes.

“Even with a severe injury such as Robert’s, we get the information beforehand and review all possible scenarios so that we go into the surgery prepared and make the right decisions at the moment. That’s what we did with Robert.”

Robert is sincerely grateful for his second chance at excellent vision.

“I’m doing really well,” Robert reports. “I sit about 25 feet from the TV and I can pretty much read everything on it. When I was younger, my vision was 20/10. With my new lens, I’m almost as perfect as I was before. It’s a happy day for me and my family.

“I’m very happy with my results. And I’m very fortunate that after 55 years Dr. Ge could do what she did. She’s a wonderful doctor. She’s very nice and patient, and I have a lot of respect for her. I can’t thank her enough.”

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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