Seeing Swimmingly

Cataract surgery, trifocal replacement lenses give pool entrepreneur brilliant visio

Christopher is thriled to be reading glasses-free following cataract surgery.

Christopher Dubendorfer has been in the pool business for half his life. He joined the business in his early 20s, when a college fraternity buddy was hiring members of their pledge class to build pools during summer break. The rest, as they say, is history. 

“After college, I worked for other pool companies in many different facets of the industry,” Christopher elaborates. “Then, about three years ago, I began the process of starting my own pool equipment repair and replacement business. 

“I live in Riverview, and I service clients anywhere in Hillsborough and Pasco counties, as well as parts of Pinellas, Polk and Manatee counties. I cover a wide area because pool work is an ‘as needed’ service. I go wherever the need is.” 

Pumps and filters are the heart of any pool’s operating system. While Christopher handles the repair and replacement of this system’s components, he also installs and repairs more advanced equipment that enhances the swimming experience. 

“There’s upgraded technology, such as colored lighting and automation, where your phone talks to your pool,” the 45-year-old describes. “I can actually make people’s Alexa device control their pool. It’s pretty cool stuff. I’m also licensed to repair gas heaters and heat pumps, which keep the pools warm year-round.” 

At about the time that Christopher launched his business, he also began struggling to clearly see objects close-up. The problem affected both his work and his leisure activities. 

“I read my Bible regularly, and for two years I had to wear reading glasses to do so,” Christopher shares. “Then, at the beginning of this year, I realized that I needed to have the book in just the right light to read it. 

“At work, which is done outside in the sun, I was having trouble seeing the fine detail in the small wires and screws I use. I thought maybe I needed glasses, so I went to the optometrist. He said, You don’t need glasses. You’ve got cataracts. 

“He told me I needed to see a specialist, so I did a Google search and found Brandon Eye Associates. Dr. Ilyas has been my doctor ever since.” 

Protein Buildup 

Haroon Ilyas, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship-trained corneal and refractive surgeon at Brandon Eye Associates, which has offices in Brandon, Plant City and Sun City Center. 

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that develop through a buildup of proteins. This accumulation prevents light from passing through the lens, which can cause an array of symptoms, including blurriness, a sensitivity to light, a reduction in the vibrancy of colors and double vision. 

Treatment involves the surgical removal of the affected lens, which is replaced with a synthetic intraocular lens, or IOL. Cataract surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis on one eye at a time, with a week or two between procedures. 

“We think of people getting cataracts and needing cataract surgery in their late 60s, 70s and 80s,” Dr. Ilyas observes. “Mr. Dubendorfer is in his mid-40s, so he’s a bit younger than average. But certain factors, such as diabetes, sun exposure, smoking and family history, can cause cataracts to develop in younger people. 

“Mr. Dubendorfer is quite active with work and family. He was having trouble attending to those things due to his vision. After a thorough examination of his eyes, we discussed his options and elected to proceed with cataract surgery. We chose a high-technology IOL that’s been on the market for several years: the PanOptix®.” 

The PanOptix is a trifocal lens that delivers optimum quality vision at all three focal points: distance, intermediate and near. It typically enables patients to become glasses-free following cataract surgery. 

“It’s not like a bifocal or progressive lens, where patients must adjust their head to see things at different distances,” Dr. Ilyas says of the PanOptix. 

“The PanOptix lens works through pupil movement. It focuses images on the retina depending on the focal length of what is being viewed.” 

The doctor stresses that not all cataract patients are candidates for the PanOptix. 

“Those with existing eye pathology, such as macular degeneration, significant glaucoma or problems with the cornea are typically not eligible for the PanOptix,” he informs. “A qualified ophthalmologist must perform a complete eye evaluation to determine if a patient is a candidate for the lens.” 

“Fantastic” Eyes 

Christopher first visited Brandon Eye Associates in late January. Soon after, surgery was scheduled to remove the cataract from his left eye. Surgery on Christopher’s right eye was completed in mid-February. He’s thrilled with how his vision improved. 

“Before surgery, my left eye was really bad,” he says. “When I covered my right eye, I could see out of my left eye, but things were very blurry,” Christopher describes. 

“I couldn’t see the whites of people’s eyes when I talked to them. I could see facial expressions and body forms, but I couldn’t see the whites of their eyes. 

“But two minutes after the surgery on my left eye was completed, I covered my right eye. The recovery nurse asked, me What are you doing? I said, I can see the whites of your eyes now. I couldn’t do that two minutes ago.

 “That first surgery was on a Thursday morning, and by Saturday morning, I was reading my Bible without reading glasses because the vision in my left eye was 20/20.” 

The outcome on his left eye made Chris eager to get the right eye done. 

“My right eye took a little longer to heal, but after four or five days, reading became really clear through that eye,” he reports. “Now, I have 20/20 vision in both eyes, so I took all 20 pairs of my reading glasses and threw them in a drawer, never to look at them again.” 

Christopher is just as thrilled with the surgeon who peformed his cataract surgery. 

“Dr. Ilyas is a great guy,” he concludes. “He’s caring, friendly and down to earth. He’s also very knowledgeable, and he explains everything very clearly. 

“He’s just fantastic to deal with. I often recommend Dr. Ilyas and Brandon Eye Associates and the PanOptix lens.”

Florida Health Care News 


Print This Article
    • Brandon Eye Associates, PA

      The doctors at Brandon Eye Associates use their hearts to help care for your eyes. In addition to being lauded, board-certified physicians at the height of their careers, your Brandon, Sun City Center and Plant City Ophthalmologists are car... Read More

    • Haroon Ilyas, MD

      Haroon Ilyas, MD, is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Ilyas completed his undergraduate studies at Franklin and Marshall University in Lancaster, PA. He attended medical school at Medical College of Pennsylv... Read More