Stretching the Horizon

Youthful vision after cataract surgery with new lens implant

For 25 years, Tammy Morgan worked long hours managing restaurants. After growing weary from the grind, she took a part-time job as a customer order specialist at The Home Depot®, a job that later became full time. 

When she’s not working, Tammy enjoys an occasional game of table shuffleboard, when she can find one.

Tammy Morgan

Tammy Morgan

”I used to live in Dallas, and table shuffleboard is a pretty big sport there,” Tammy discloses. “One night, some friends said, Let’s go to the bar, have some drinks and play shuffleboard. My first reaction was, Isn’t that for old people? But they said, No, it’s a lot of fun. So I went with them and really enjoyed playing.”

According to Tammy, 54, table shuffleboard differs notably from the floor game often enjoyed by seniors in their retirement.

“For one thing, it’s played on a table,” Tammy points out. “It involves weights that look like little hockey pucks. Players slide the weights across the table and try to be the only weight left on the board. The farther down the board you get, the higher your score, if your weight stays up.”

Tammy routinely played table shuffleboard in Texas. Since moving to Florida, though, she’s pretty much given up the sport for lack of competition.

“There just aren’t many players or places to play around Daytona Beach,” she laments.

While driving around, Tammy noticed her vision was changing, and she realized that her problems seeing clearly were steadily worsening.

“It was a slow process, but I was getting increasingly more blind,” Tammy relates. “It got to the point where I couldn’t drive at night due to double vision. And the glare from oncoming vehicles made it really difficult to see. Eventually, I started driving only during the day, but I eventually had trouble seeing even then.

“At first, I thought, I’m getting older; this is part of it. When I finally committed to seeing an eye doctor, he told me I had cataracts. The doctor asked if I was driving. I told him I was, and he said, You shouldn’t be. With your cataracts, you wouldn’t pass the eye exam for your driver’s license. That’s how blind I was.”

Cataracts are the natural clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. The only treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a synthetic intraocular lens, or IOL. For surgery, Tammy’s eye doctor referred her to board-certified ophthalmologist Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD, at Premier Eye Clinic.

“Tammy is relatively young for having this level of cataracts, since cataracts usually develop after people reach their 60s, 70s or later,” Dr. Ge educates. “She is physically healthy, without any prior eye conditions or injury. She does have a family history of cataracts, so hers are likely hereditary.

“During her eye exam, Tammy’s vision was so poor that she couldn’t make out the big E on the eye chart. She could only count fingers at a few feet. Her eyesight was very blurry for an active woman of her age, who is also working full time.

“Tammy is young and wants to live life to the fullest. Her goal was to see as clearly as possible without glasses, including readers, following cataract surgery.”

Stretching Light Rays

“As we age, the natural lens inside the eye slowly loses its ability to flex, and that is why people start to need reading glasses or bifocals to help with close-up vision,” Dr. Ge explains. “This condition is called presbyopia. In cataract surgery, the natural lens is removed and an artificial lens implant is placed inside the eye to focus light and provide clear vision.”

The standard monofocal IOL provides clear vision in only one focus, near or distance, but not both, whereas presbyopia-correcting IOLs are able to offer a wide range of glasses-free vision. 

“There are multiple FDA-approved presbyopia-correcting IOLs available, including multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs and extended depth of focus IOLs,” Dr. Ge reports “Each of these presbyopia correcting IOLs has strengths and potential weaknesses. That’s why I take the time to evaluate not only the patient’s eyes, but also their lifestyle and even their personality before recommending a specific IOL.”

Ultimately, Dr. Ge recommended the Alcon AcrySof® IQ Vivity® lens for Tammy.

“The Vivity is one of the newest FDA-approved IOLs,” Dr. Ge notes. “It is an extended depth of focus lens so it works differently from multifocal and accommodating IOLs. It stretches light rays entering the eye to provide crystal clear distance and intermediate vision and functional near vision without glasses.

“Compared to multifocal IOLs, Vivity does not cause the rings or halos around lights at night, which were reported in rare cases of patients with multifocal IOLs. Vivity also provides more predictable near vision compared to accommodating IOLs.” 

The Vivity also comes in a toric version used to correct astigmatism, a “football shape” of the cornea, the front clear window of the eye. Astigmatism distorts vision. Tammy had astigmatism in her left eye, where Dr. Ge placed a Vivity toric IOL during surgery.  

“Following Tammy’s first surgery, she had 20/20 distance vision in that eye right away,” Dr. Ge reports. “She was happy with her near vision as well. Several weeks later, when I performed surgery on the other eye, I adjusted the IOL power ever so slightly based on the outcome of her first eye, so that she had even better vision, with 20/20 distance and 20/20 near, which completely eliminated her dependence on reading glasses.”

“I Don’t Need Glasses” 

“Before cataract surgery, I didn’t wear prescription glasses, but I did use readers, and there was always an issue with them,” Tammy reveals. “Because I didn’t need readers to do everyday activities, I didn’t always have them with me to read items with small print, such as menus. I thought, As long as I’m going under the knife, let’s go ahead and take care of that. I’m glad I did!”

Tammy says she sees now like she did in her early 20s.

“My vision is wonderful and youthful now,” she raves. “I don’t need glasses of any kind, not even readers. The double vision is gone, and I have no issues driving at night. I’m extremely happy.”

Tammy is also quite pleased with her ophthalmologist.

“I love Dr. Ge,” she enthuses. “She’s very knowledgeable and has a good bedside manner. I feel very comfortable with her. Her staff is also knowledgeable and very accommodating. 

“I recommend Dr. Ge and Premier Eye Clinic to anybody having issues with cataracts. I encourage them to have the surgery because it really helped me. I’m not making accommodations for my eyesight anymore. I feel like I got my life back.”  

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo courtesy of Tammy Morgan. js
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    • Premier Eye Clinic

      Premier Eye Clinic provides comprehensive eye examinations and treatment for patients of all ages. Their board-certified ophthalmologist is highly experienced in advanced cataract surgery using a "no injection, no stitch, no patch" tech... Read More

    • Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD

      Q. Jocelyn Ge, MD, PhD, received her medical degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and her PhD from the University of California. She completed her internship at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and her o... Read More