Switch and ReSTOR®

Glasses free after cornea, cataract surgeries.

Kevin Daniels was a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force and was working at Special Operations Command in Florida when he retired in September 2000. During his retirement physical, Kevin was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes but was told they didn’t require surgery. He saw an eye doctor every year after that, and his cataracts remained stable, until 2018.

Photo by Fred Bellet.

Kevin is thrilled to be reading glasses free.

“Around January of last year, I started noticing differences in my vision,” the Chicago native recalls. “When I drove at night, oncoming headlights were exceptionally bright and glaring. When I watched the news on TV, I had trouble seeing the words running across the bottom screen because they were blurry. I also had to have a very bright light on to read, so bright it was ridiculous.
“The changes happened rather fast, so I figured my cataracts had gotten a lot worse. I knew Dr. Berger through a loved one who’d been going to him for years. I first went to see him in April 2018.”

Craig E. Berger, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmic surgeon at Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa. After carefully examining Kevin’s eyes, Dr. Berger discovered there was more than cataracts affecting the Air Force veteran’s vision.

“Dr. Berger performed a battery of tests and much to my surprise found that my cataracts weren’t the preeminent problem,” Kevin relates. “He found two different corneal diseases that he said are genetic, although I wasn’t aware of anyone in my family having them. He then planned a course of action for my treatment.”

“Kevin presented with classic cataract symptoms,” Dr. Berger discloses. “He experienced difficulty driving at night due to glare, and he could not read the guide on the TV. Those symptoms had been worsening over the previous months prior to seeing me.

“He also had a combination of corneal conditions that caused blurred vision called anterior basement membrane dystrophy and Fuchs endothelial dystrophy. It was necessary to treat the corneal conditions with separate procedures before we removed his cataracts and implanted the intraocular replacement lenses.”

“Dr. Berger said he had to do the corneal transplants first because doing them in reverse might require redoing the cataract surgery,” Kevin states. “During cataract surgery, he places new lenses, and doing the corneal transplants later would move those lenses. It would be a duplication of effort for Dr. Berger to replace the lenses.

“We agreed to do the corneas first, and Dr. Berger always does things one eye at a time. I had my first cornea procedure in July, the second in October. Dr. Berger then performed my first cataract surgery at the end of December. I had my second eye done this past April.”

Manipulating Membranes

For 15 years, Dr. Berger was an adjunct assistant professor of ophthalmology at University of South Florida Eye Institute as well as a practicing physician at Bay Area Eye Institute. With these two positions, he developed extensive expertise in cataracts and cataract surgery as well as cornea surgery, including the latest procedures, which he used for Kevin.

“The treatment for Fuchs endothelial dystrophy is a new corneal transplant called Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty, or DMEK,” Dr. Berger reports. “The Descemet membrane is the basement membrane deep within the cornea. The endothelium is the lining tissue.

“During DMEK, the patient’s Descemet membrane and endothelium are selectively removed and replaced with donor tissue. I am one of only three doctors in the area offering this procedure.”

It was necessary for Kevin to have DMEK if he wanted to be free of glasses after cataract surgery. Without the DMEK procedure, he would not be a candidate for premium multifocal lens implants because of his corneal condition.

Premium multifocal toric lenses correct astigmatism and allow for near, far and intermediate vision. This full range of vision enables patients to be less dependent on eyeglasses and contact lenses.

“If Kevin did not undergo DMEK, he would have to settle for standard monofocal implants,” Dr. Berger elaborates. “With monofocal lenses, Kevin would need to use glasses for distance and up-close vision for the rest of his life. But he was very motivated to be glasses independent after surgery, so I recommended a multifocal lens for Kevin.”

Photo by Fred Bellet.

“After the surgery, it was like a filter was lifted from my eyes. Everything was so much brighter.” -Kevin

Before Dr. Berger made that lens recommendation to Kevin, he explained the advantages and disadvantages of the various lens options to him. He also took the time to review Kevin’s lifestyle and the activities he prefers in order to find the best lens match.

“I encourage all my patients to take the time to gain a clear understanding of the benefits of each of the different intraocular lenses before making a choice,” assures Dr. Berger, who, in addition to his practice at Bay Area Eye Institute, also spends one morning per week treating military veterans at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa.

“No one lens is ideal for everyone. Lenses come in many different sizes, with a variety of features and benefits. It is important that I have an appreciation of my patient’s lifestyle before making any recommendation. Based on Kevin’s lifestyle and vision needs, I recommended the ReSTOR toric lens for him, and he decided to go with it.”

Incredible Improvement

Because ReSTOR toric lenses correct astigmatism, they provide crisp, clear vision and eliminate the need for glasses. Kevin was amazed by the sharpness of his vision following his cornea and cataract surgeries.

“First of all, I was excited to learn I was a candidate for the multifocal lenses,” Kevin shares. “I’ve worn glasses since I was five years old, and I’m sixty-seven now. After the surgery, it was like a filter was lifted from my eyes. Everything was so much brighter.
“It wasn’t until after surgery that I realized I had been looking through a yellow lens. I think I see better now than I did with glasses. It’s astounding. And I don’t have to wear glasses at all.”

The difference in Kevin’s vision is especially evident to him when he uses the computer, watches TV, drives and reads. And he’s thrilled to be glasses free. Dr. Berger’s treatment at Bay Area Eye Institute was “eye-opening” for him.

“Driving without glasses is great,” Kevin enthuses. “I see new things in my line of vision, especially in my peripheral vision. I see things I never saw before because I always had glasses on, and they were in the way. Now, driving at night is fine. No more glare.

“There were times before when I really had trouble reading, but that’s all gone. The improvement is incredible. I love to read histories and biographies, and I’m currently working my way through the writings of Winston Churchill. I have a lot of pages to get through, but reading is comfortable now. And not having to worry about glasses is just wonderful.”

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    • Bay Area Eye Institute

      Bay Area Eye Institute understands that there are many ophthalmologists and optometrists in the Tampa bay area to choose from. Dr. Berger’s practice focuses on patient satisfaction. His philosophy is to put the patient first, provide phys... Read More

    • Craig E. Berger, MD

      Craig E. Berger, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmic surgeon. After receiving his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Florida, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of South Fl... Read More