The High Sees

Cataract surgery helps outdoor enthusiast regain joy of boating.

Diane Colucci loves the outdoors. The 64-year-old former real estate agent especially loves being out on the water, where her favorite pastime is sailing up and down the Intracoastal Waterway with her husband on their 19-foot Bayliner®.

Diane Colucci had cataract surgery and now sees better than ever after Dr. Kostick used the ORA™ machine to get the precise measurements for her multifocal lenses.

Diane’s outdoor activities are no longer hampered by the sun.

“I like fishing, too, and going to the beach,” explains Diane, who remains active in retirement as a substitute elementary school teacher for children with special needs. “But I especially love the ocean. I just can’t get out there enough. I really enjoy it.”

A bout with cataracts recently took a bite out of the joy she gets, not just from being out on the water, but out anywhere. Diane learned she was developing cataracts during a routine eye examination about three years ago,

In addition to suffering from some of the standard symptoms of cataracts, such as seeing halos while driving at night and noticing a fading in the vibrancy of colors, Diane also found herself fighting a blinding glare whenever she was outside.

“Oh, it was awful,” Diane says of the glare. “It was terrible, no matter where I went, but as you might expect, it was especially bad when I was out on the boat. And it didn’t matter what I did to try to combat it.

“I wore my sunglasses all the time, of course, and I wore a hat, but nothing seemed to work. The glare wasn’t going to keep me from going out on the boat, but it definitely took some of the joy away of being out there.

“I was squinting all the time and then I started to get headaches a lot. I was pretty sure it was the cataracts that were causing me all the problems, but to be sure, I decided to go to the eye doctor and have everything checked out.”

Diane’s eye doctor is Alexandra Kostick, MD, of Atlantic Eye Center. A board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Kostick has been treating Diane since 2011 and first discovered cataracts in both her eyes in 2015.

“Her cataracts were in the early stages of development at that time and so there was no need to do surgery back then,” Dr. Kostick explains. “She was not yet suffering from any symptoms and so we simply continued to monitor them.

“When Diane came in this past January, however, she was complaining of seeing halos at night and of other issues. We looked at the cataracts again, and it was evident that they had become symptomatic to the point where we needed to do surgery.”

Lifting the Clouds

The slow development of Diane’s cataracts is not unusual. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people older than 40, they tend to develop slowly and can sometimes go unnoticed for months or even years.

As a result of their typically slow development, the effects of cataracts can sometimes be fought off, at least temporarily, by strengthening a patient’s eyeglass prescription. Improved lighting and strong magnifiers can sometimes reduce the effects as well.

Over time, however, the protein that lies behind the iris and the pupil naturally clumps together and clouds the lens, causing the vision to become blurred in a way that is akin to looking through a dirty window pane.

As it was with Diane, cataracts can also cause sufferers to see halos around lights at night and to detect a drop in the vibrancy of colors. These vision problems, however, do not have to be an inevitable fact of aging.

Cataract surgery, a procedure in which the clouded, natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a clear, synthetic, intraocular lens implant, is considered quite simple, the entire procedure often lasting less than 15 minutes per eye.

The standard lens implant corrects for distance vision primarily, but Diane chose a multifocal implant that corrected her vision for both distance and reading.

“Her vision is now 20/20 for both near and distance without any reading glasses or distance correction needed,” Dr. Kostick confirms. “Her surgery was very successful, and one of the things that helped achieve that success was the ORA.

ORA stands for Optiwave Refractive Analysis. It is a diagnostic device that allows eye surgeons to obtain accurate measurements of the shape of the eye during procedures such as cataract surgery after the cataract has been removed.

The ORA has become especially useful for surgeons working with patients whose corneas have been previously altered through refractive procedures such as LASIK® surgery, but it can also help ensure a positive outcome for patients opting for multifocal implants.

“With patients wanting multifocal lenses, you want them to come out perfect – with minimal or no prescription for reading or distance vision,” Dr. Kostick explains. “The ORA helps us do that because it allows us to fine-tune the power of the lens in the operating room.

“The ORA system can definitely help improve the preciseness of the lens implant power. I am fortunate to be able to have access to this state of the art equipment in the operating room.”

Family-Like Atmosphere

Diane is proof that the ORA does indeed provide patients with positive results. Prior to having her cataract surgery, Diane wore reading glasses for 15 years. Now, she sees everything clearly, at all distances.Diane Colucci had cataract surgery and now sees better than ever after Dr. Kostick used the ORA™ machine to get the precise measurements for her multifocal lenses.

“My vision is fantastic now,” Diane raves. “I see like I did years ago. And I mean, years ago. I can read the tiniest type without reading glasses, and everything at a distance is much clearer and crisper. Even colors are brighter. And there’s no more glare.

“When I’m out on the boat now, I can enjoy it again the way I used to. I’m so grateful for that.

“Dr. Kostick is just fantastic, and so is everyone on her staff. They’re all really incredible people.  I’ve already recommended Dr. Kostick to a couple of friends because she’s so good and because everyone at her office makes you feel like family.”

A family-like atmosphere is what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She is proud to be treating the sons, daughters and grandchildren of patients she has treated for years.

“Our patients become part of our extended family,” Dr. Kostick asserts. “We strive to make them comfortable by creating a very caring environment. They know they are going to be treated with a personal touch whenever they come here.”

A strong reputation in the community is also something the staff at Atlantic Eye Center strives to maintain.

“I think word of mouth is very important for doctors,” Dr. Kostick adds. “I can honestly say that my staff go out of their way to ensure that people are cared for to our utmost capability.”

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    • Atlantic Eye Center

      Flagler County’s leading female board-certified ophthalmologist, serving the county since 1996, is at Atlantic Eye Center. Benefits the center offers you include: A multi-trained and highly regarded doctor Unparalleled eye care experi... Read More

    • Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC

      Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. After earning her medical degree at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Dr. Kostick served a mixed surgery internship at St. Boniface Hospital at... Read More