The New Class

Here’s the latest option in multifocal intraocular replacement lenses.

Arvid at his computer

Arvid recently became one of the first cataract patients to be fitted with the new Vivity replacement lens

When Arvid Olson’s first two semesters of college left him with a grade-point average that only Animal House’s “Bluto” Blutarsky would celebrate, his father pulled the plug on funding and issued an ultimatum:

“He said you can either join the military or get a job,” Arvid remembers.

Arvid chose the former. Sort of. He joined the Army Reserve. He learned quickly, though, that he also wasn’t yet cut out for military life. So, he returned to school, and his GPA suddenly shot up from 0.8 to 3.8.

Armed with the necessary grades, Arvid eventually chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and went to dental school. Following graduation, Arvid specialized in endodontics for seven years. Then, at age 36, he decided military life might not be so bad.

“I was still in the inactive reserves, and in 1980, the Army was desperate for dentists,” he explains. “I went back in and stayed for 12 years before returning to private practice. That was all due to my father and his good guidance.”

Years later, Arvid found himself in need of guidance from another source. This time, his eye doctor steered him in the right direction after he discovered cataracts were developing rapidly in his eyes.

Cataracts are a natural result of a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers and/or clumping of the eye’s proteins. They usually result in blurred vision, an increase in the eye’s sensitivity to light, or a reduction in the vibrancy of colors.

“My eyesight was still pretty good, but the eye doctor told me my cataracts were between stages three and four in terms of their development,” explains Arvid, 77. “That meant that in the next six months, things could go really bad if I didn’t have surgery.”

When Arvid asked his eye doctor for a recommendation regarding an ophthalmologist who could perform the surgery, he was given the name of Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, of Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast. The name was familiar to him.

“My wife and I have a good friend who recently had cataract surgery,” Arvid relates. “His surgery was done by Dr. Kostick, and he had nothing but great things to say about her, so I followed up with her.”

A Common Procedure

Recognized as one of the most accomplished surgeons in the field, Dr. Kostick verified Arvid’s development of cataracts and recommended surgery. Thankfully, cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures in medicine.

With more than 4 million such procedures each year in the US, cataract surgery is typically performed on one eye at a time in an outpatient setting, with a week or two in between.

During each procedure, the eye’s clouded natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. IOLs are made of acrylic or silicone and coated with special material to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

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

The most advanced IOL yet is a trifocal lens called the PanOptix® that corrects distance, intermediate and near vision. The PanOptix lens has become Dr. Kostick’s “IOL of choice” for patients wanting a multifocal lens, but not all patients are candidates for the PanOptix.

“People who have had macular degeneration or retina problems or had a preexisting refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK are not candidates for the PanOptix,” Dr. Kostick confirms. “In terms of getting a multifocal IOL, they’ve been out of luck.”

Until now.

Recently approved by the FDA, the Alcon AcrySof® IQ Vivity® IOL is designed to provide crisp, clear distance and intermediate vision as well as functional up-close or reading vision in patients who are not candidates for the PanOptix.

The Vivity IOL is so new that at the time of Arvid’s surgery, the lens was not available to ophthalmologists in all markets. Dr. Kostick is the first ophthalmologist in Flagler county and the Coastal Volusia area to implant the Vivity lens in a patient.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome of my surgery. Except for seeing really fine print, I don’t need to use my reading glasses at all.” – Arvid

“I’m very fortunate to once again be on the leading edge of technology,” says Dr. Kostick, who was also the first in her area to implant the PanOptix. “This Vivity lens is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for a lot of patients.”

In terms of how it improves a patient’s vision, the biggest difference between the PanOptix and Vivity is that the Vivity does not provide the same sharp near or reading vision that the PanOptix does.

“But it does offer some up-close vision,” Dr. Kostick clarifies. “Patients receiving the Vivity lens may still want to wear some weak Plus-1 cheaters for reading, but they will gain some new ability to see up close, whereas before they were getting none.”

The likelihood of needing to wear reading glasses didn’t bother Arvid. He has been wearing reading glasses for years and is accustomed to them, so he didn’t flinch a bit when Dr. Kostick suggested the Vivity lens would be his best option.

“He had a little wrinkle, something we call an epiretinal membrane, in the back of his left eye,” Dr. Kostick reports. “Because of that, he wasn’t a candidate for the PanOptix lens. But he’s doing really well with both his distance and near vision with the Vivity lens.”

Better Than Expected

It’s not only Arvid’s distance and intermediate vision that have improved since he was fit with Vivity IOLs. In addition to now having what he calls “super” distance and intermediate vision, Arvid’s reading vision has improved markedly as well.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome of my surgery,” Arvid exudes. “Except for seeing really fine print, I don’t need to use my reading glasses at all. These lenses are working even better than Dr. Kostick thought they would.

“My vision is much clearer, and everything is much brighter. I’m very impressed with the results, and I want to add that I was very impressed with Dr. Kostick and all her technicians. Everyone is very thorough, and they treat you like you’re a member of the family.”

A family-like atmosphere is what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She is proud to be treating patients’ spouses, 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.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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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