Didn’t See That Coming

Cataract surgery perfects fast-fading vision, eliminates need for glasses.

During the 41 years he piloted the gymnastics program at Southern Connecticut State University, legendary US Olympic coach Abie Grossfeld produced 29 individual NCAA champions, 126 All-Americans and hundreds of gold medalists.
Jean Rodenbaugh is among those who made it into the latter category.

Jean’s vision is
“absolutely perfect now” that she’s seeing the world through
PanOptix lenses.

Though the floor exercise and uneven bars were her favorite gymnastics events, the balance beam is where Jean won gold for Southern Connecticut State under Grossfeld’s tutelage. The medal she won is a prize Jean will never let go of.

“Yes, I still have the medal,” says Jean, now 73. “I have it locked up in a safe-deposit box. I’m very proud to have won it and very proud to have been coached by Abie Grossfeld. He and his wife, Muriel, were very good coaches – the best.”

A gymnast all through her youth, Jean ended her athletic career after college, where her love of numbers paved the way for a career in accounting. Her career as an accountant peaked when she became the chief financial officer for Ocean Pacific Apparel.

Since then, Jean has slowly migrated south, eventually landing in Florida, where she retired a few years ago. Jean has largely enjoyed her retirement, save for a stunning diagnosis she received last June that she literally did not see coming.

“I’m prediabetic, and because of that my doctor has me get my eyes checked about every three months,” Jean explains. “I was doing that regularly through last September, but when the coronavirus hit I had to miss one of those appointments.

“I didn’t get back to the eye doctor until June, and when I did I could not read the eye chart. I said, Read it? I can’t even see it. That was with my left eye. Then they checked the other eye, and it was pretty much the same thing.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to think because as far as seeing everything around the house and reading, I wasn’t really having any problems. Of course, the eye doctor knew right away what was wrong.”

Jean’s eye doctor is Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, of Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast. During her examination, Dr. Kostick discovered that the cause of Jean’s suddenly poor vision was the rapid development of cataracts.

A Common Occurrence

Cataracts are a natural clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, typically caused by aging. They usually result in blurred vision, an increase in the eye’s sensitivity to light or a reduction in the vibrancy of colors.

It is estimated that more than half of all people between the ages of 75 and 85 will develop cataracts, however, surgery to remove them is among the most common medical procedures.

Cataract surgery is typically performed on one eye at a time in an outpatient setting, with a break of a week or two in between. During such procedures, the clouded natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.

IOLs are made of acrylic or silicone and are coated with special material to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. During surgery, the IOL is rolled up and placed in the eye, where it unfolds and is held in place by two side structures called haptics.

Like contact lenses, IOLs are available in different focusing powers. Standard IOLs typically correct distance vision, while multifocal IOLs can correct distance and near vision in much the way bifocal glasses or contacts do.

Recently, the most advanced IOL yet, the trifocal PanOptix lens that corrects distance, intermediate and near vision, was made available in the United States. Dr. Kostick believes there is no other like it.

“Most multifocal lenses correct only distance and near vision, or distance and intermediate vision,” she explains “With the PanOptix lens, you can see in the distance clearly, you can read clearly and you can see things in the intermediate range clearly, such as a computer screen.

“Another great thing is that the patient’s visual recovery from surgery comes quicker when implanting the PanOptix lens. That’s why the PanOptix lens is now the lens I recommend for all my cataract patients who want multifocal lenses.”

Part of the Family

Recognized as one of the most accomplished surgeons in the ophthalmologic field, Dr. Kostick first noticed that cataracts were forming in Jean’s eyes in 2019. By June 2020, Jean’s cataracts had developed to a point where they needed to come out.

After reaching that conclusion, Jean and Dr. Kostick had a discussion regarding replacement lenses. Accepting Dr. Kostick’s recommendation, Jean opted for the PanOptix lenses. She says it was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“I’m truly amazed at the difference in my eyesight,” Jean raves. “My vision is absolutely perfect now. It’s 20/20, and before I got these PanOptix lenses, I never had 20/20 vision in my life. I mean it when I say these PanOptix lenses are fantastic.

“Not only can I read the bottom line on an eye chart now, I can read the fine print on absolutely anything. And colors – oh, the difference in colors is absolutely astounding. What was once a pale yellow or orange or red is now a bright yellow, orange or red.

“And you know what one of the best things about this is? I will never have to buy or wear another pair of glasses or contact lenses again. That’s a great feeling, so I could not be happier with the outcome of my cataract surgery or with Dr. Kostick.

“She is a true professional, and her staff is fabulous. I recommend them to anyone because they explained everything and answered all my questions, and I love that they treat every one of their patients like they’re a member of their own family.”

A family-like atmosphere is what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She also treats Jean’s husband and is proud to be treating not just patients’ spouses, but also their children and grandchildren.

“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 Atlantic Eye Center staff strives to maintain.

“I think word of mouth is very important for doctors, and we pride ourselves on the referrals we get,” Dr. Kostick adds. “I can honestly say that my staff members 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