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Precision critical for “perfect” outcome from cataract surgery.

If you’re among the thousands of pedestrians, joggers or bicyclists who regularly walk, run or ride any of the outdoor, multi-use trails that dot the Tampa Bay area, you owe a small debt of gratitude to Charner Reese.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Charner Reese

Charner, who is now retired, spent the last few years of her working career planning and organizing the funding for multi-use trails such as The Upper Tampa Bay Trail for the Hillsborough County Greenways program.
“I was just one member of a large team of people who were involved, but we did a whole master plan for a series of interconnected trails,” Charner explains. “That was the vision, and there was a lot that went into it from start to finish. It was quite a process.”
A cyclist herself, Charner has ridden many of the area’s multi-use trails, including some of those she had a hand in developing. In recent years, however, her treks anywhere have become a little less enjoyable due to an issue with her eyesight.
“It was about five or six years ago that I was told cataracts were beginning to develop, particularly in my right eye,” Charner says. “It was something that I kept track of for a while and then, just recently, I began having difficulty reading.
“After that, my vision got progressively worse, mostly in that right eye, and I started having trouble doing even some of the everyday things that I needed or wanted to do. That’s when I decided it was time to get these cataracts taken care of.”

Nature’s Course

Cataracts develop naturally in about 90 percent of all people 65 or older, usually from a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers, a clumping of the eye’s proteins, or both. They typically cause blurred vision, an increase in sensitivity to light and a reduction in color vibrancy.
Though cataracts usually develop slowly, they can be corrected quickly and easily through an outpatient procedure in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.
A glasses wearer most of her life, Charner has long been and remains a regular patient at Pasadena Eye Center. When the time came for her to have her cataract surgery, she opted to have her surgery done by Nathan R. Emery, MD.
“One of the interesting things about Charner’s case is that in addition to having some of the typical cataract symptoms, she is what we call a high myope, meaning she has some pretty severe nearsightedness as well,” Dr. Emery explains.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Difficulty reading triggered Charner’s decision to have her cataracts removed.

“Without glasses or contact lenses, Charner could see something right in front of her eyes, but beyond that, everything got very blurry. Doing cataract surgery on someone like that is not more complicated, but the patient is at a higher risk for complications afterward.
“The reason is that people who are high myopes have really long eyeballs. Patients like that tend to have a higher incidence of retinal tears and retinal detachments post-operatively because their eyeballs are so long.”
Prior to surgery, cataract patients at Pasadena Eye Center are given an array of tests to evaluate the health of their eyes and their suitability for surgery. A test is also conducted to determine the most appropriate IOL for each patient.
Standard IOLs correct vision primarily for distance. Patients can also have one eye fixed for distance vision and the other corrected for reading, an option called monovision.
Charner chose to receive multifocal lenses. Considered the premium among IOLs, multifocals eliminate the need for glasses altogether by correcting distance vision and extending the focus point for reading so that items can be seen clearly at arm’s length.

Three for One

Prior to performing the surgery on Charner, Dr. Emery took a few extra steps to further guarantee her outcome would be the best it could possibly be by using three different methods to measure her eyes and calculate the power of her lens implants.
“With someone like Charner, it’s really important that you get rid of all that nearsightedness, so the lens calculations are critical to a good outcome, especially when the patient is moving into a multifocal lens,” Dr. Emery explains.
“You want to be absolutely spot-on with those calculations, so we use three different calculation methods. We combine them and make certain they’re all consistent with each other.
“It’s a twist on that old saying that carpenters use. They say, measure twice and cut once, but for us, it’s measure three times and laser once. It’s really the best way to ensure the best outcome for our patients.”

“It’s about a forty-five-minute drive for me to go to see Dr. Emery, but it’s definitely worth it . . . He’s everything you want in a doctor.” – Charner

One of the calculation methods Dr. Emery uses to ensure his patients receive the best IOL for their needs is called the VERION Image Guided System. Dr. Emery says this technology is critical to optimizing a patient’s outcome from cataract surgery.
“We obtain the VERION measurement pre-operatively.
It takes pictures of your eyes and documents the readings,” Dr. Emery educates. “Then, during surgery, that information is fed into a machine that allows us to line everything up properly.
“It’s a nice technology that helps us get everything right. We also use an instrument called the IOLMaster that scans the length of the eye and the curvature of the lens, and a third that calculates the length and measurements on the cornea.”

Brighter, Crisper

The extra steps Dr. Emery took to ensure Charner’s outcome was as good as it could be paid off. Once reliant on glasses or contact lenses to see anything beyond a few inches, Charner now has no less than 20/20 vision in both eyes, Dr. Emery reveals.
“She’s between 20/20 and 20/25, depending on the day you measure her,” the doctor confirms. “And her reading level is what we call a J1, which means she can read something pretty close to newspaper print without glasses.”
Charner, who completed her cataract surgery about a year ago, describes her vision since having the surgery as “near perfect,” adding that she has chosen to continue wearing glasses, though largely as a matter of convenience.
“I still wear glasses for reading and I do a lot of that, so I went ahead and got progressive lenses so that I wouldn’t have to take them on and off all the time when I’m doing things around the house,” Charner explains.
“But if I’m driving somewhere or I’m out and about and don’t want to wear my glasses, I don’t need to. Especially when I’m driving, I still reach up as if to take my glasses off once in a while. That’s just an old habit that’s hard to break.
“But I definitely don’t need to wear my glasses anymore if I don’t want to. To me, my vision really is perfect, because colors are so much brighter, and everything is so much crisper. I didn’t know how bad my vision was until I got it corrected.”
When Charner moved to Tampa a few years ago, she tried an eye doctor closer to her home. She soon returned to Dr. Emery at Pasadena Eye Center because she trusts him and appreciates the way he cares for her. Now, she’s happier than ever that she did.
“It’s about a forty-five-minute drive for me to go to see Dr. Emery, but it’s definitely worth it,” she exudes. “Everybody there is just so great, and Dr. Emery is very friendly and knowledgeable. He’s everything you want in a doctor.”

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    • Nathan R. Emery, MD

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