See Clearly for Life

An avid outdoorsman, Alan Salmi spends his free time participating in the two sports he loves most – hunting and fishing.
As a regional vice president for Rooms To Go® for the past 26 years, Alan rarely gets much time to himself. When he does, the majority of it is spent outside.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Alan can see clearly to play pool once again.

“We live in a state that affords us the perfect weather all year to be able to enjoy great activities outdoors,” he says. “I’ve always loved hunting and fishing. I’ve been doing those two things ever since I was a young kid, so I go every chance I get.”
A few years ago, Alan’s ability to hunt and fish was suddenly met with an obstacle. He had developed droopy eyelids, something he says he inherited from his father.
“My father had droopy eyelids, and his were rather severe,” Alan recalls. “He never did anything about them. In my own case, I noticed my eyelids getting worse over time. Eventually, they were impairing my vision and my ability to see clearly.”
A colleague referred Alan to Premier Eye Clinic, where he consulted with Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD.

Baggy Eyelids

Eyelid bagginess afflicts both men and women. Although it is often hereditary, as it was with Alan, it typically becomes more pronounced with age. As the transition takes place, eyelids can change in ways that make people look tired, to the point where they almost feel tired as a result. Others may actually begin to appear sad or angry.
“Many times, people don’t realize how important proper eyelid location and function are to overall vision,” explains Dr. Ge. “Excess skin on the upper eyelids can obstruct a patient’s field of view, interfering with peripheral vision.”
According to Dr. Ge, folds and bags of excess skin form when the connective tissue of the upper eyelids is no longer able to hold the protective layer of fat in place around the eye, allowing the tissue to bulge forward. As it loses its tone and elasticity, the excess skin of the upper eyelids protrudes into the visual field.
“People can begin to develop this as early as forty years of age, and it will gradually progress and get worse as they get older.”

Blepharoplasty Basics

Dr. Ge examines all patients first to be sure that a surgical procedure is necessary.
“We test for droopy lids by performing what is called a visual field test,” says Dr. Ge. “Peripheral vision is first checked with the eyelid in its natural position. Next, the eyelid is taped up and the field of vision is rechecked. If there is a significant difference between the two tests, it is considered a functional problem.
“In order to repair Alan’s loss of vision, I recommended blepharoplasty, a procedure performed to remove the excess skin on the eyelids,” Dr. Ge informs. “Blepharoplasty is a relatively minor procedure. The surgery is done as an outpatient under local anesthetics. During the surgery, an incision is made in the upper lid crease, and through that incision, the extra skin and sometimes muscle or fat are removed. Then, sutures are placed to close the incision.”
Any scarring is minimal and is normally present along the lid crease, she adds, so when the eyes are open, the scar is tucked away into the normal fold of the lid crease. After about a month, it completely fades away.
Following surgery, Dr. Ge explains, patients are asked to apply ice or a cold gauze pad frequently during the first 48 hours to reduce any swelling or bruising. Sutures are removed one to two weeks following surgery.
“I was really pleased after having had the surgery done,” Alan shares. “Dr. Ge was very informative, and she explained everything to me. I was thrilled that it went so well, and I could see so much clearer afterwards.”

Cataracts after LASIK

When Alan was in his 40s, he was an eyeglass and contact lens wearer. Because of his outdoor hobbies, Alan chose to undergo LASIK surgery so he would no longer need glasses or contact lenses.
“The procedure was successful, initially,” Alan recalls, “but it only lasted a few years. Eventually, I had to return to wearing glasses.”
Several years after his eyelid surgery, Alan noticed that his vision was deteriorating even with glasses and he decided to consult with Dr. Ge again.
Dr. Ge advised Alan that he had developed cataracts in both eyes. A cataract occurs when “protein clumping” clouds the eye’s natural lens and results in blurred vision. These can develop at any age, but usually are not problematic until patients are over 60. “Alan was at a point where his driving was being affected, especially at night. He was also getting to the point where he could not participate in nighttime hunting or fishing. So, I suggested he have the cataracts removed and replaced with lens implants,” Dr. Ge recalls.
Since Alan desired to be free of glasses and contact lenses, Dr. Ge recommended femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery with Crystalens® implants so that Alan’s astigmatism and his presbyopia (needing glasses or bifocals due to age) would be corrected.
The surgery, performed on an outpatient basis, is a minor, relatively painless procedure that replaces the clouded, natural lens with a clear, synthetic lens implant. With the Crystalens implants, Alan no longer relies on glasses or contact lenses.
“The difference for me is like night and day,” Alan raves. “I can tie a fishing line now, and I am able to see it perfectly. I can drive at night without any kind of glare at all. The surgery was easy and fast, and there was no recovery time. And best of all, I do not need glasses anymore!”

Dependable and Reliable Care

Dr. Ge and her staff pride themselves on providing dependable and reliable care to generations of patients.
“Quality patient care,” explains Dr. Ge, “is about more than just skill and knowledge. It is about forming relationships and understanding what each patient needs and addressing it with quality and compassion. Alan is the perfect example of a patient who came back to us for his needs time and again.”
Dr. Ge and her team provide a family-friendly environment at Premier Eye Clinic and enjoy serving generations of family members.
“We put our patients first,” Dr. Ge continues. “People feel comfortable and safe coming here. That is our goal. When we do good work for a husband or a wife, they send other members of the family to us. It’s a testament to our practice.”
“I feel Dr. Ge is one of the most professional doctors I have ever met,” Alan assures. “She is thorough and very knowledgeable. She takes her time with you and is never in a rush. I highly recommend her to anyone needing eye surgery or even just a regular exam. She is really great!”

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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