See Better for Life

A whole new world awaits patients after cataract surgery.

As a hairstylist, Debra Jefferis has a keen eye for the latest trends in hair, from cuts to color and everything in between.
But in recent years, Debra’s eyesight began to interfere with her ability to perform her job as meticulously as she always had.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Debra can see clearly when cutting her clients’ hair now.

“I never screwed up anyone’s hair,” Debra says with a laugh. “I would cut myself with the scissors a few times, instead of cutting the hair. I also had a hard time reading directions on some products. I found myself having to stop and refocus much more than I ever had before.
“Everything seemed blurry or fuzzy all the time,” she describes. “I would hold a label far away from me to read the words.
“I eventually had to stop driving at night because the glare from oncoming headlights was almost blinding to me. It was too bright.
“I’ve worn glasses for many years, and I figured I needed a stronger prescription. When I finally went to my ophthalmologist, I was told there was nothing they could do as far as changing my eyeglass prescription. Years earlier, they told me I had cataracts forming, but not to worry. However, it had finally reached the point where they said I needed to have the surgery to have the cataracts removed. That’s when I was referred to Pasadena Eye Center.”

Informed Patients

When cataracts develop, it becomes increasingly difficult to read, especially in low-light situations. In addition, people describe a variety of symptoms, including the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions and a loss in the vibrancy of colors.
“Debra complained to me of some of the typical symptoms of advanced cataracts,” explains Nathan R. Emery, MD, an ophthalmologist at Pasadena Eye Center. “She was getting the traditional halos and starbursts and glare from headlights at nighttime while driving.
“After examining her eyes, I determined that she did have advanced cataracts and required surgery.”
Cataract surgery generally takes less than 15 minutes to perform, including preparation and post-op observation, assures Dr. Emery. The stay at the surgery center is about 90 minutes. The vision may be blurry for the first few days, but is nearly always much better within a few weeks.
“I was nervous about the surgery,” Debra shares. “In fact, I chickened out twice before at different offices before even going to see Dr. Emery. But, he made me feel comfortable because he explained everything to me and made me a part of the decision-making process. I just needed to find the right surgeon, and I did, with Dr. Emery.
“He explained everything he was going to do and gave me information to take home and read, so I was well-informed about the procedure beforehand. The information they shared is top-notch.”

Symfony of Sight

Following cataract removal, Dr. Emery says it is necessary for patients to have intraocular lens (IOL) implants placed.
“Based on the health of the eye and factors determined in the exam, we discuss lens and surgical options with the patient and decide which lenses to use,” he explains. “We have many options to choose from that will suit the needs and long-term goals of the individual.”
Together, Debra and Dr. Emery decided that the cloudy lens caused by the cataract would be replaced with the leading-edge Symfony IOL, which best suited her lifestyle and needs.
“As a hairstylist, Debra sees a lot of things at arm’s length or closer,” Dr. Emery notes. “So, she wanted a lens to provide her better vision for those two distances – midrange and up-close. The Symfony is an extended-range lens providing patients with improved intermediate and up-close vision without the dependence of glasses.
“Debra wanted a solution that would not only take care of the cataracts, but result in her not having to wear glasses anymore.
“The Symfony lens helps vision at multiple distances, but it’s very different from other multifocal lenses,” continues
Dr. Emery. “This lens has been in use in Europe and Canada for several years with great success. The way the lens is designed, the optics of it allow just about everything to be in focus. It’s very good for somebody who has very healthy eyes, aside from cataracts, and doesn’t want to wear glasses anymore, which was the case with Debra.

“Colors are absolutely amazing to me now.”

“In the past, multifocal lenses provided a distance point that was in focus and a near point that was in focus. The optics with the Symfony are more like a range of vision. It doesn’t matter where you hold the object, up close at ten inches away or looking at a computer screen eighteen inches away, all of those distances are in good focus.”
The Symfony lens utilizes new technology called extended depth of focus. One advantage is how it provides intermediate vision for tasks such as reading a grocery shelf label or working at a computer.
“The ideal patient is someone like Debra who tends to focus their eyesight on a particular object throughout the day,” Dr. Emery describes. “In Debra’s case, being a hairstylist, she reads a lot of directions for products and has to be precise in what she does.
“This lens is very good in providing distance vision and also provides midrange vision without some of the downfalls we see in multifocal lenses.”
The Symfony lens is also available in a version that corrects astigmatism, so patients who have high astigmatism now have the possibility of not needing glasses.

The Right Fit

A Dayton, Ohio transplant, Kenneth Tinderholm was a longtime eyeglass wearer. He relocated to St. Petersburg following a job transfer in 1991.
Kenneth had difficulty finding the right ophthalmologist to meet his needs over the years.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Kenneth is able to see both near and far perfectly now that his cataracts are gone.

“I went from office to office, unable to find a doctor I felt I cliqued with,” Kenneth shares. “I felt I had a hard time finding quality care in an eye doctor.”
Years ago, through an ophthalmologist he was seeing at the time, Kenneth was diagnosed with cataracts.
“They told me not to worry about them,” Kenneth recalls. “It wasn’t until recently things got worse.”
Being extremely nearsighted, Kenneth noticed a significant change in his eyesight when driving at night.
“I couldn’t see the road signs,” Kenneth explains. “Letters were blurry. Headlights bothered me.”
It was then that Kenneth was certain his cataracts had progressed.
“I figured I was at a breaking point because my glasses weren’t even helping me anymore. I just couldn’t see well during the day or at night.”
Like Debra, Kenneth was also referred to Pasadena Eye Center. He was sent to their office by his wife of 51 years, Roberta. He, too, met with Dr. Emery.
“Well, I had the most reliable referral from my own wife,” Kenneth says. “She had her cataracts removed by Dr. Emery and really loved him. When it was my time, I gave them a call right away.”
“After examining Kenneth, I determined that his situation was similar to Debra’s in that they both noticed a significant decline in their vision that their eyeglasses were not rectifying,” Dr. Emery recalls. “That is a definitive sign of progressive cataracts – when the ophthalmologist can no longer increase your prescription to adhere to your visual needs.
“Kenneth was extremely nearsighted,” Dr. Emery continues. “With nearsighted individuals, when they take their glasses off, they can usually focus well on things that are up-close, but in his case, his vision had declined so rapidly because of the cataracts that he couldn’t do that. He had a type of cataract that progressed very quickly.
“After much discussion, I recommended monovision for Kenneth. Monovision means using one IOL that corrects distance vision in one eye, and using another IOL that corrects near vision in the other eye. Each eye is doing something different, and the brain therefore has to adjust and get used to it.
“As a result of his IOL implants, Kenneth no longer needs eyeglasses, just like Debra.”

Seeing Is Believing

Debra says not only is she much more precise when it comes to her work as a stylist, but she sees so many things now with a newfound appreciation since her cataracts were removed.
“Colors are absolutely amazing to me now,” Debra says. “It really is eye-opening to think of how I once saw a color and thought it looked normal. Now, I see bright, beautiful color. I describe the difference in comparing a bright LED light bulb to an old, yellow, dingy bulb. The brightness is amazing.”
Debra says she still reaches to adjust her glasses that she no longer wears. She says she still looks to put them on first thing every morning.
“It is a lot to get used to when you have worn glasses for decades,” Debra shares. “I have to get used to not wearing them. Ultimately, I am pleased with my results.”
Kenneth says he, too, keeps reaching for his glasses that are no longer on his face.
“Not wearing them is hard to get used to when you have had them for decades,” he relates.
“I am really thrilled with my results.
Dr. Emery is fantastic and the staff is super. I highly recommend their office. It’s really a first-class organization. Dr. Emery is one of a kind!”
Debra describes the staff at Pasadena Eye Center as second to none.
“The entire staff is kind and caring,” she raves. “You aren’t just a number; you are treated like a person. I’m a breast cancer survivor, so I know the difference between being treated as a number and being treated as a human. They treat you with dignity at Pasadena Eye Center.”

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    • Pasadena Eye Center

      The doctors and staff of Pasadena Eye Center are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality eye care, and they offer the latest advancements in ophthalmology.... Read More

    • David E. Hall, MD

      David E. Hall, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He graduated from the University of Mississippi and received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He completed his internship at Erlanger Hospital and... Read More

    • Nathan R. Emery, MD

      Nathan R. Emery, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He completed his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, before serving a two-year mission in England. Upon his return to the United States, he completed his medi... Read More

    • Dennis C. Ryczek, OD

      Dennis C. Ryczek, OD, is a Florida-certified optometrist. He attended St. Petersburg Junior College and the University of South Florida. He graduated summa cum laude with a doctorate in optometry from the University of Houston, TX, and c... Read More