Relieve and ReSTOR®

Dry eyes complicate cataracts

For years, Theresa* suffered from dry, red, itchy eyes that her doctor treated as allergies. The New York native also had difficulty with her vision that was getting progressively worse, but her eye doctor didn’t seem particularly concerned. He simply continued to update her eyeglass prescription and left it at that.

Dry eyes complicate cataracts

Theresa is happy she decided to find another physician and is thrilled the physician she discovered was Dr. Berger.

“I had glasses and contacts, but I was also having irritation from severe dry eyes,” describes Theresa. “My contacts felt so dry they would pop out. My eyes were severely red. Nothing I did relieved them.

“I also had problems seeing. Things weren’t as sharp and clear. I would have my contacts in and then I would have to put my glasses on.”

As her vision got worse, Theresa decided she needed to see another doctor. This time, she wanted a specialist to evaluate her condition and recommend a treatment plan. Her husband did a search and found Craig E. Berger, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmic surgeon at Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa.

“Dr. Berger is an excellent doctor,” notes Theresa. “He tells you what’s wrong with you and what needs to be done. He told me I had cataracts in both eyes and needed surgery. When I was going to the other doctor, he just kept on giving me contacts and glasses and never said I needed cataract surgery.”

Before surgery could be done, Dr. Berger needed to address Theresa’s dry eye symptoms. He recommended GenTeal® ophthalmic gel and RESTASIS® drops for her severe dry eyes. Theresa remembers little about the cataract surgery, except that it and her recovery went very smoothly.

“I had no trouble with the surgery,” she says. “After the surgery, I put drops in my eyes and used the cream, and that helped them. The experience was wonderful, and I see clearly now that my cataracts were removed.”

Cataracts Close Up

In addition to his practice at Bay Area Eye Institute, Dr. Berger was an adjunct assistant professor of ophthalmology at University of South Florida Eye Institute for 15 years. With these two positions, he developed extensive expertise in cataracts and cataract surgery.

“Cataracts result from protein build-up in the lens of the eye, which prevents light from passing through and makes the vision look cloudy,” explains Dr. Berger. “Symptoms include cloudy or foggy vision, glare, difficulty seeing at night, loss of color intensity and double vision.”

Cataracts are a common problem, and most are related to aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, most people by age 75 will have developed cataracts to the point that their vision is affected. Other factors, however, such as diabetes, sun exposure, smoking and a family history, can cause the condition to develop at a younger age.

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

Cataract surgery is generally done on an outpatient basis and involves removal of the affected lens and replacement with a new, artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. One eye is done at a time, usually a few weeks apart.

Weighing the Options

When having cataracts removed, it is essential to find an excellent surgeon, but it’s also important to find a doctor who is experienced at determining the most appropriate lens implant for each individual.

Before making a recommendation, Dr. Berger explained the advantages and disadvantages of the different lens options to Theresa. He also took the time to review Theresa’s lifestyle and the activities she prefers in order to find the best lens match.

“I encourage 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’s important that I have an appreciation of my patient’s lifestyle before making any recommendation.

“I consider the patient’s activities, hobbies, the type of work he or she does and his or her visual requirements,” he continues. “Then, I do a complete eye exam, looking at the patient’s tear film, the amount of astigmatism and the health of the retina, cornea and optic nerve. I recommend implants based on all of that information.”

Dr. Berger also notes that there are implants that work better with certain eye conditions, while others don’t work as well.

“We have to tailor the implant technology to the patient and his or her condition,” he states. “This was the case with Theresa. We discussed her visual needs and her dry eye problem, and agreed on ReSTOR intraocular lenses.”

According to the manufacturer, ReSTOR lenses are unique. They feature a “pupil-adaptive design that precisely allocates light to the retina more like the natural human eye.” ReSTOR combines apodized (an optical filtering technique) diffraction and refraction technologies that allow for clear vision at both near and far distances. This helps focus light on the retina for images at various distances and creates a smooth transition of light between the distant, intermediate and near focal points.

Recognizing Excellence

Since having her dry eyes treated and her cataracts removed, Theresa says she “feels like a million bucks.” She’s grateful for Dr. Berger’s surgical skill, and she’s thrilled with the outcome of the procedures.Dry eyes complicate cataracts

“Dr. Berger did the surgeries on both eyes, and he did a wonderful job,” relates Theresa. “I see fine now. The last time I went to see Dr. Berger, he said my vision is 20/20. Now, I can see without contacts or glasses. It’s terrific.”

Theresa also gives kudos to the staff of Bay Area Eye Institute. She credits them not only for their excellent customer service, but also for providing
Dr. Berger with all the information he needed to make an accurate diagnosis.

“The staff was friendly and caring,” she comments. “They were on time, and they were right there to help me. They also did some of the tests that showed I had cataracts in both eyes.”

The treatment Dr. Berger recommended for Theresa’s dry eyes has helped significantly with her dry, red, itchy eye symptoms.

“I don’t have any trouble now,” she notes. “When my eyes do get dry, I just put in the drops.”

Theresa is happy she decided to find another physician and is thrilled the physician she discovered was
Dr. Berger. He and his staff corrected problems she’d been dealing with for many years, and now she’s more than satisfied.

“To get my eyesight back is wonderful,” she offers. “I’d recommend Dr. Berger and Bay Area Eye Institute to anybody. They are excellent!”

*Patient’s name withheld at their request.
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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. He earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Florida and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of South Florida College of M... Read More