Vision Quest

Cataract surgery brings the world back into focus.

Though she has spent most of her life living in St. Petersburg, Celma Mastry has also spent some time “living away,” as she puts it, in Belize and Hawaii. Given all the time she’s spent near the water, it should come as no surprise that fishing is her greatest passion.Celma Mastry chose Dr. Nathan R. Emery of Pasadena Eye Center to perform her cataract surgery, and the outcome was amazing.

“I first started fishing when I lived in Belize,” Celma says. “I lived there until I was eight, and the waters there are just wonderful for fishing. It’s really kind of our family trade. We’re boating and fishing people.”

Indeed they are. For more than 50 years, Celma’s family has owned and operated a St. Petersburg-based company that sells and services outboard engines. Fishing, she says, just came naturally to her and her siblings.

“Any chance I get, I love to go out to the Middle Grounds and fish,” Celma, 65, says of a popular reef in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. “I’m also a member of the Old Salt Fishing Foundation. We have a ladies tournament every year that I’ve won Master Angler in before.

“All the proceeds from that tournament go to the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation, which is named for my mother, who died of ovarian cancer in 2004. The year I won the tournament, I won five hundred dollars and just gave it all back to the foundation.”

Not long after winning that tournament, Celma began experiencing some vision problems that made not only fishing but normal, daily activities difficult. A trip to the eye doctor revealed an epiretinal membrane had developed on her retina.

An epiretinal membrane is a thin sheet of fibrous tissue that develops on the macula, or central area, of the retina. It can cause blurred vision, distorted vision and/or blank spots in the vision. Celma first experienced blank spots.

As a result of her diagnosis, Celma began seeing a retina specialist. The specialist has been monitoring Celma’s macular issue ever since. That issue still has not developed to a point where it needs to be addressed surgically, but another eye issue recently did.

“I was already having the dark spots because of the macular issue and then, all of a sudden, I started having trouble with lights at night,” Celma explains. “It was like there were halos around them. I also noticed the sunshine was suddenly brighter than it was before.

Celma Mastry chose Dr. Nathan R. Emery of Pasadena Eye Center to perform her cataract surgery, and the outcome was amazing.

Celma (Left) and her nephew Kevin Carlan show off one of Celma’s prize catches.

“Even when I wore sunglasses, it was very bright, and for me, that was difficult because I never got a pair of prescription sunglasses for whatever reason, so I’ve always worn sunglasses over my regular glasses.

“No matter what I was doing, it was getting harder and harder to see, so I went to my retina specialist. He told me the macular issue was actually getting better but said, You’ve got cataracts and they’re pretty ripe. You probably need to have surgery.

A Matter of Time

The development of cataracts is a natural part of the aging process that eventually affects most everyone 65 and older. Studies, in fact, show that 90 percent of people 65 and older will suffer from the natural clouding of the eyes’ lenses known as cataracts.

Cataracts most often develop from a natural 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 tend to develop slowly over a number of years, 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.

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. A third option is premium IOLs that correct vision for both distance and reading or close-up work, eliminating the need for glasses of any kind.

Cataract surgery is usually performed one eye at a time, with the patient taking a one- or two-week break before having the second eye corrected. That’s the route Celma chose after she selected Nathan R. Emery, MD, of Pasadena Eye Center as her surgeon.

“Celma was referred to me by another patient of mine that she works with,” Dr. Emery recalls. “As part of our routine, we always give our patients an extensive exam to evaluate the overall health of their eyes and their suitability for surgery.

“We did that with Celma and also conducted a test to determine the most appropriate IOL for her. In discussing the different options and what her goals were, we decided the extensive-range multifocal lenses were going to work best for her.”

When fitting a patient with multifocal IOLs, the goal is to leave them with perfect 20/20 distance and reading vision. Achieving that mark when correcting for near or reading vision can be difficult, but technological advances are making it easier.

“With our reading vision, there tends to be a certain area that’s kind of a sweet spot, and that’s different for every person,” Dr. Emery explains. “So, what’s being done now with certain multifocals is, they’re being made with different reading strengths.

“For those who do a lot of reading of fine print, we can give them a lens where the sweet spot is a little closer. For those who do a lot of work at a computer or do a lot of intermediate-type reading, the sweet spot can be set a little farther out.

“We’re also finding that it works very well when we mix and match the multifocals and have one eye where the sweet spot is set for that computer range while the other is set for a little closer up. That gives the patient a much better near-
vision range.”

Celma Mastry chose Dr. Nathan R. Emery of Pasadena Eye Center to perform her cataract surgery, and the outcome was amazing.

Celma is seeing better than ever following cataract surgery.

Celma’s macular condition was not affected by, nor did it impact, her cataract surgeries, the first of which was performed in late March. She underwent surgery on her other eye two weeks later, but she was already seeing more clearly well before that.

“I noticed a difference right away, after the first eye was corrected,” Celma says. “The first thing I noticed was how much clearer everything was. And then, after I got home, one of the first things I noticed was how much sharper the TV looked.

“I had recently bought a new television, thinking before that it was the TV that just wasn’t sharp. So, I bought this brand-new smart TV, and I was so excited when I turned it on and saw how crisp the picture is and how bright the colors are.

“It was really amazing the difference that just one surgery made. Then I had the second one done, and it was even more amazing. I’m so happy that I got this done and that I got these topnotch lenses and received such topnotch care.

“Dr. Emery is really great. He’s very personable and that meant a lot to me. Anytime someone is operating on your eyes, it can be a very stressful time. But Dr. Emery eased all my fears and made me feel comfortable. I definitely recommend him.”

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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