For the more than 20 million Americans that are affected by cataracts, the world can be a dark place. This common eye condition occurs when tissue breakdown and protein clumping in the lens of the eye cause it to become cloudy and distorted, obscuring vision. In some cases, as cataracts grow worse, they can cause the entire lens to take on a yellowish or brownish tint, ruining color vision and making it seem as though you are viewing the entire world through dark, foggy sunglasses. Such was the case with Bonnie, our August Spotlight Patient.
A retired widow who had suffered from poor vision for most of her life, Bonnie had always worn hard contact lenses to treat her astigmatism and nearsightedness. However, as she grew older, her worsening cataracts became an increasing problem. “I always had to ask my friends what color things were,” she said. “I even ended up taking all of my black and blue clothes to a friend’s house so she could sort them and we could mark them with a magic marker, just so I could tell them apart.” Eventually Bonnie’s vision got so bad that she was unable to drive and had to keep a small flashlight to shine on text so that she could read.
“I have an abnormal fear of doctors,” explained Bonnie. “So I just put it off and let things get worse and worse.” Finally she found out that her dear friend and neighbor, who was a nurse anesthetist, had received surgery to correct her cataracts and asked her where she had gotten it performed. That was when she learned about Dr. William Segal. “She told me about how great Dr. Segal had been and how happy she was with her results, so I got up my nerve and got a friend to drive me over.”
Years of wearing hard contacts had scratched and nicked the surface of Bonnie’s corneas, leaving them unsuitable for laser cataract surgery. Dr. Segal recommended that she use soft contact lenses for six months in order to give her corneas a chance to heal. “But the soft contacts were driving me crazy because I just couldn’t get the hang of putting them in and taking them out,” Bonnie explained. “So Dr. Segal actually prescribed 30-day, extended wear contact lenses and had me come into the office every month to have them changed out by his staff. I was really touched that he was willing to go through so much trouble just to make sure that I was comfortable. I could tell that he really wanted to make sure that my surgery was a success.”
Eventually, Bonnie was able to undergo laser cataract surgery and intraocular lens replacement surgery with the LenSx® laser, but she was still apprehensive. “I just couldn’t get over the idea that I was going to have something sharp poked into my eye, so Dr. Segal had a technician come in and hold my hand through the entire procedure. Everyone was just wonderful. I totally trusted Dr. Segal.”
Today, Bonnie’s vision is sharper and clearer than ever, and she doesn’t even need to wear contacts any longer. “The first thing that I did was go out and buy a smart phone,” she said. “I had always wanted one, but I had never been able to see the screen. When I was at the mall, I was absolutely amazed at everything I had been missing. All the colors were so much more vibrant and the whole world looked brighter. Dr. Segal changed my life.”
If you are interested in sharing your experience with Dr. Segal and the Georgia Eye family, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us. Be sure to follow Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.C. on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more patient stories and tips for healthy eyes.