Personalized care means better results for cataract patients.
Beverly Bardi admits that her four-decade-long relationship with her eyeglasses was always a contentious one. She never did fully bond with her eyewear, often forgetting where she last put them. And ironically, because she wasn’t wearing her eyeglasses, she couldn’t properly search for them.
“My husband would have to find my glasses,” says Beverly with a laugh.
She started wearing eyeglasses when she was in her 40s and, as she aged, her vision continued to worsen. Then, around 2008, she began experiencing double vision. This new visual defect required that a prism be added to her glasses.
Wearing her eyeglasses became such a nuisance that Beverly gave up reading, one of her favorite pastimes.
“It annoyed me to wear the glasses,” she says.
Today, not only is Beverly reading again, she hasn’t the slightest notion where her old eyeglasses may be. Nor does her husband. However, she is not concerned in the least. Thanks to her cataract surgeries performed by William J. Mallon, MD, founder of the Center for Advanced Eye Care and board-certified ophthalmologist, she never has to wear those annoyances again.
From hazy to clear
Dr. Mallon explains that a cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye: “The lenses in our eyes grow throughout our lives, with new layers added each year, much like rings around a tree. Eventually, those layers become cloudy and darken. As light is blocked, blurred images form on the retina.
“When a patient’s cataracts begin to interfere with their vision, it is time for them to have a cataract surgery. During the surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a transparent, synthetic lens that will enable light to pass through unobstructed so that images are no longer hazy.”
The clarity in which Beverly now sees the world continues to astound her.
She has always been an early riser, enjoying that moment in the day when she can watch the moon and stars give way to the gorgeous Florida sun and bright blue sky. However, it wasn’t until she underwent the cataract surgery that she truly appreciated the marvels that time of day offers.
“I think because vision declines gradually, a person doesn’t realize what the change is,” says Beverly. “Then, when you have the surgery, the results are astonishing. When I walked out of my house the morning after the surgery, I stopped dead in my tracks and I said, It looks like somebody turned the lights on. It was that drastic. My vision is absolutely wonderful.”
Patients equal friends
Just as wondrous in Beverly’s eyes was Dr. Mallon’s kindness. He was more than a doctor; he was a friend, someone who truly cared for her health.
“Dr. Mallon was considerate and available and his staff was great and greeted everyone with a smile. They are all so compassionate,” gushes Beverly.
“On the night that I returned home from the first surgery, Dr. Mallon called me,” she remembers, explaining that she had her eyes treated separately, two weeks apart. “I couldn’t believe it. He wanted to know how I was and if everything was okay. I haven’t heard of a doctor doing anything like that in sixty years and he did the same thing after the second surgery.”
While it might not have seemed like the norm for Beverly, it is the norm for Dr. Mallon and the Center for Advanced Eye Care. To say they care for patients like family is not a figurative statement, but a literal one.
“My office will not put a lens in someone’s eye until we feel comfortable enough that we would put it in a family member of ours,” says Dr. Mallon. “I’ve operated on several family members of mine – my uncle, my stepfather and my aunt. I’ve also operated on my colleague Dr. Adam Katz’s uncle and aunt and will soon be operating on his mother. If it doesn’t pass the family test, we don’t offer it.”
Dr. Mallon also believes that in order to best serve each patient, he needs to get to know him or her on a personal basis. Patients are more than names and charts to him. They are people; each one with their own individual needs and wants.
“The success or failure of a surgery is not only determined by the actual physical procedure,” explains Dr. Mallon, “but also by preoperative planning and discussion with the patients. I need to understand the patient’s needs and wants and match them up with what I’m able to provide.
“We could easily have just given Beverly standard lenses and some glasses, but we spent the extra time to really figure out what was going to help her.”
To correct her double vision, a lens was placed in her non-
dominant, left eye for near vision and her dominant, right eye for distance vision. This particular cataract surgery is called monovision.
“That was my choice,” explains Beverly. “Dr. Mallon gave me all the options and the pluses and minuses of each and I explained that I would rather have the monovision.”
“This is something our patients who had double vision have had success with,” states Dr. Mallon. “We say, If your eyes won’t play nice together, then we’ll make them play separately. So we separated the vision between her two eyes because they don’t play well together.”
Beverly was also a candidate for lenses that allowed her to be glasses free, another outcome of Dr. Mallon’s personalized care.
“This is a very complex procedure and we require a lot of input from the patients,” says Dr. Mallon. “If patients tell me they’ve been wearing glasses for fifty years and they really don’t care if they have to wear them or not, then we keep it pretty simple. If patients have a desire to be less glasses dependent, then we talk to them about different options for that outcome.”
Today, the world looks clearer to Beverly than it has in many years and those eyeglasses she dreaded are in her past, collecting dust in some unknown corner of the house. And while she hasn’t the slightest notion where they could be, if she so desired she is fully capable of finding them on her own.
“Dr. Mallon saved my eyes!” she exclaims. “Thanks to him, I can experience the visual joys of life in ways I never could have imagined. I’m seeing the world through new eyes.”