Raise Your Glasses To Cataracts…

… and leave them forever after lens replacement surgery.

As a licensed steamfitter, William Dargan fabricated, installed, maintained and repaired mechanical piping systems for various industries. He mostly serviced refineries, chemical plants and cogeneration units during his career, which spanned more than four decades.

William learned the trade after his uncle, also a steamfitter, sponsored him for a five-year apprentice program. After completing the apprenticeship and graduating from the program, William began his career in earnest. It was a career he loved and appreciated.

“God made me very good at my work, gifting me in my trade,” the 74-year-old grants. “I became a mechanical supervisor and worked in the field for 43 years. I wanted to work for 50 years, but business slowed and I decided it was time to get out. Still, I cried when I retired. I probably would’ve done that job for no money.”

By the time William reached his 70s, cataracts were forming in his eyes. A clouding of the eye’s natural lens, cataracts can lead to a variety of symptoms. In William’s case, his eyes became very sensitive to light, so much so that the glare from oncoming headlights bothered him when he drove. He also struggled to read small print, even with his glasses, and colors became indistinguishable.

“My wife has been telling me all my life that I’m color blind, that I don’t know my colors,” William muses. “With the cataracts, though, I could see black, white and red. That’s it.”

William’s wife also suffered with cataracts. When her cataracts reached the point of requiring surgery, William explored the internet for a qualified eye surgeon. He discovered Craig E. Berger, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmic surgeon at Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa.

In addition to operating his thriving practice, Dr. Berger spent 15 years working as an adjunct assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of South Florida Eye Institute. Through his work in these posts, Dr. Berger developed a high level of expertise in cataracts and cataract surgery.

“Dr. Berger performed cataract surgery on my wife, and I accompanied her to all her checkups,” William remembers. “Then he began to watch my cataracts. When Dr. Berger told me it was time to have them removed, I complied.”

Clearing the Fog

William Dargan gained independence from glasses following cataract surgery by Dr. Craig Berger at Bay Area Eye Institute in Tamps. Dr. Berger replaced William’s cloudy natural lenses with PanOptix trifocal intraocular lens implants.

With the PanOptix IOL, William can see at near, far and intermediate distances without glasses.

“Cataracts are the result of protein buildup in the natural lens of the eye,” Dr. Berger educates. “This buildup prevents light from passing through the lens and makes the vision look cloudy. Symptoms include hazy or foggy vision, glare, difficulty seeing at night, loss of color intensity and double vision.”

A common problem, cataracts are typically related to aging. More than half of all Americans will develop cataracts by age 80. But other factors such as diabetes, sun exposure, smoking and family history can cause the condition to develop at a younger age.

“Typically, cataracts become a problem later in life, but they actually start to develop around the age of 40 and progress at different rates in different people,” Dr. Berger observes. “For this reason, they can occur in younger people as well.”

Treatment for cataracts involves the surgical removal of the affected lens, which is replaced with a clear, synthetic intraocular lens, or IOL. Cataract surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis on one eye at a time, a few weeks apart.

Before recommending a replacement IOL for William, Dr. Berger described for him the advantages and disadvantages of various options. The doctor also reviewed William’s lifestyle to find the best lens match.

“I always consider the patient’s activities, hobbies, the type of work they do and their visual requirements,” Dr. Berger elaborates. “Then I perform a complete eye exam looking at the patient’s tear film, the retina, the cornea and the optic nerve. I also look for astigmatism, an imperfection in the cornea.

“I recommend implants based on all of that information, and I encourage patients to take the time to gain a clear understanding of the benefits of each of the intraocular lenses before making a choice. No one lens is ideal for everyone. Lenses come in many sizes, with a variety of features and benefits.”

To give William sharp near, distance and intermediate vision following surgery, Dr. Berger recommended a new trifocal IOL called the PanOptix®. The PanOptix provides clear vision at all three focal points, virtually eliminating the need for glasses following cataract surgery.

“People today have more active lifestyles and use technology such as computers and smartphones with greater frequency,” Dr. Berger acknowledges. “They want to be able to see at all distances following cataract surgery without the hassle of glasses. The PanOptix trifocal lens gives my patients that luxury, making glasses unnecessary.”

Dr. Berger performed surgery on William’s left eye this past fall and his right eye in December. After each procedure, he prescribed eyedrops to use for one month to help the eyes heal and prevent infection.

Since the surgeries, William has been enjoying a glasses-free lifestyle.

“Before surgery, I had to wear glasses for reading; now I don’t have to wear glasses at all,” William enthuses. “My eyesight is 20/20 without glasses. I can even read very small print. My vision is so crisp and clear that I go around the house picking up little specks off the floor.”

William’s night vision and ability to recognize colors have also greatly improved.

“When I drive at night, I don’t notice the glare anymore. I still don’t know if I have all my colors straight, but those that I can see are much clearer and more vivid.”

William praises Dr. Berger and the staff at Bay Area Eye Institute for the precautions they are taking to protect patients from COVID-19.

“A nurse checks you at the door and takes your temperature,” he relates. “Inside the door is a dispenser with sanitizer so you can clean your hands. If you don’t have a mask, they’ll give you one before you go in. Patients are kept separate, and they wipe down all the equipment before they test you.

“My wife and I are very pleased with the courtesy of Dr. Berger and his staff. They’re professionals, and there’s comfort in that.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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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