Predictable Precision

Cataract surgery with new technology brings clear vision for life without glasses or eye drops.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Larry and
Nancy Crawford

Larry and Nancy Crawford’s love blossomed later in life. They were in their mid 50s when they met in 2001 in Cincinnati, Ohio. They wed a year later, unifying discrete backgrounds and interests. Larry, who hails from Louisville, Kentucky, enjoyed a career as a pilot for a private corporation. Nancy, a Cincinnati native, was primarily an educator but also worked in banking and finance.

The couple happily lived and worked in Ohio for a while after tying the knot. When Larry retired in 2005, they moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where Larry got a retirement job, which turned into full-time employment. But the retired pilot suffered a major setback shortly after arriving in Wilmington.

“Right after we moved to Delaware, Larry was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease,” Nancy shares. “But he continued working, and God was with us. The cancer didn’t spread to any other part of his body. In 2009, Larry underwent a successful liver transplant.”

“Now, I’m in pretty good shape,” Larry reports. “My new liver is doing fine. Of course, I have to go for periodic rechecks, but I’m as healthy as an ox, as they say. I’m seventy-two years old, and I don’t have any issues. I’m just enjoying life.

“I worked at the job in Delaware for a couple more years, then we finally decided to retire for good and go where it’s warm and sunny. We moved to Florida in 2012.”

Nancy learned years ago of some health issues of her own when she was told she had cataracts forming in both eyes. The condition didn’t cause any noticeable symptoms until 2015, but when it did, Nancy had good reason to be concerned about her eyesight.

“All of a sudden, I couldn’t read the print on the television; it was very blurry,” she says. “I also had trouble driving in the dark, especially on rainy nights. My eye doctor told me glasses wouldn’t help and that it was time to have cataract surgery.”

Before Nancy agreed to the surgery, she sought a second opinion. She did some research and discovered the highly rated, board-certified ophthalmologist Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD, at Premier Eye Clinic. Nancy brought Larry along with her because of lingering concerns with his eyes, most notably glaucoma, or increased pressure in the eyes.

Dr. Ge examined Nancy’s eyes and agreed that her cataracts were ready to be removed. She scheduled the procedures for fall 2016.

“Cataract surgery on Nancy’s right eye was performed in September as a femtosecond laser-assisted surgery with laser treatment for mild astigmatism,” the doctor recalls. “Nancy opted for a standard, monofocal lens implant in her right eye.

“Nancy’s left eye surgery was performed in December 2016. Nancy received a toric lens in that eye because she had a higher degree of astigmatism, which is best corrected by a toric lens implant.”

Around the time of Nancy’s surgeries, Larry was diagnosed with cataracts as well. Dr. Ge recommended he undergo surgery to remove them, but Larry “procrastinated” and didn’t have the surgery until 2019.

“Between my cataracts and my glaucoma, I noticed a lot of blurriness and had quite a few headaches,” Larry reveals. “I also suffered a little bit of dizziness, mainly because I was trying hard to focus my eyes, but couldn’t.”

Mixed Mechanism

Before Dr. Ge performs cataract surgery, she addresses any existing eye conditions that may affect the outcome of surgery. A condition such as dry eye disease can cause blurriness and discomfort, and must be treated before surgery to maintain clear vision following surgery.

“Nancy has a history of dry eye and blepharitis, which is redness and inflammation of the eyelids,” Dr. Ge notes. “She uses artificial tears and warm compresses at home to manage these conditions. Subsequently, the prescription eye drop RESTASIS® was started to treat her dry eye. At one time, dissolvable punctal plugs were implanted in her eye for an exacerbation of dry eye.”

Larry’s case was more complicated than Nancy’s because of his glaucoma diagnosis, Dr. Ge shares.

“His glaucoma is what we call mixed mechanism,” the ophthalmologist describes. “With that, there is narrowing of the drainage area inside the eye, which is called anatomical narrow angle, and that is a risk for angle closure glaucoma, a serious condition. This is treated with an in-office laser procedure called peripheral iridotomy.

“After my cataract surgery, I’ve got 20/20 vision in both eyes. … And with the iStent inject, I don’t have to use the glaucoma drops anymore.” – Larry

As part of Larry’s mixed mechanism, he also has an open-angle component to his glaucoma. He used prescription eye drops to control this component. But there is a newer, FDA-approved technology that can be used at the time of cataract surgery to assist with fluid drainage and lower eye pressure in open-angle glaucoma. It’s called iStent inject®.

“The most important information that patients with both cataracts and open-angle glaucoma should know is that adding the iStent inject procedure to the cataract surgery benefits patients’ vision without added risk,” Dr. Ge emphasizes.

“With lower eye pressure, patients can often discontinue prescription eye drops,” Dr. Ge continues. “That is a huge benefit because eye drops could have side effects. For example, some could cause asthma, or change blood pressure or heart rate. Others might cause dizziness or fatigue. They could also be toxic to the surface of the eye, cause eye irritation and make dry eye worse. Prescription eye drops could also be cost prohibitive.”

20/20 Vision

Nancy and Larry had surgery on their eyes performed by Dr. Ge, and they both achieved excellent results.

“After my cataract surgery, I’ve got 20/20 vision in both eyes. I’ve never seen so well in my life,” Larry raves. “And with the iStent inject, I don’t have to use the glaucoma drops anymore.”

“My vision is 20/20 as well, and we no longer have to wear glasses,” Nancy enthuses. “Both of us have worn glasses since we were kids. For me, it was a goal to be glasses free after cataract surgery. We opted for the toric lens to correct the astigmatism in our eyes so we wouldn’t have to wear glasses.”

“When Dr. Ge and I talked it over after she said I definitely needed cataract surgery, she told me there were a number of things I could do,” Larry states. “I told her, Just do the same thing you did for Nancy, and I’ll be happy. She did, and I’m quite happy.”

Larry and Nancy are so impressed with Dr. Ge and her team, they’ve let Dr. Ge take over their eye care full time. They also share their positive opinion of the ophthalmologist with their friends and neighbors.

“We’ve recommended Dr. Ge and Premier Eye Clinic to several friends,” Larry says. “They, likewise, have had cataract surgery by her and are totally delighted with it.”

“One of our neighbors had surgery right after I did, and she speaks tons of praises for Dr. Ge and Premier Eye Clinic,” adds Nancy. “We recommend them all the time.”

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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