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Choosing The Right Cataract Surgeon For Patients With Pre Existing Vision Issues

If you have pre existing vision issues, choosing a qualified surgeon for cataract surgery is imperative. Read Spencer’s story in his own words:

By Spencer S. Busby, San Diego, CA

Dr. Sandy T. Feldman and her office really gave me my life back. She helped me fulfill a life-long dream to be able to see clearly without glasses. Having good vision, or any vision at all, is so important, and you tend to take it for granted until you lose, or almost lose it. And that is what happened to me.

In the early 1980’s, I was able to see 20/20 corrected with glasses. But uncorrected, I was about 20/200, with approximately six diopters of myopia/nearsightedness in both eyes. My eyes could not tolerate contact lenses, so I opted to have a 16 incision radial keratotomy (RK) in my right eye and a few years later, a radial keratomileusis in my left eye…..(neither of these eye surgeries were done by Dr. Feldman)…The right eye myopia improved about 50 percent, though I was still nearsighted and needed glasses. However, the left eye operation had complications, with the eye pressure rising to the point of damaging my optic nerve/retina, and forever clouding my central vision and limiting my left eye to hazy images. At the time, my surgeons were unsure of the cause, and followed up with numerous follow-up refractive surgeries to the cornea, including at least three cornea transplants, none of which provided much vision improvement. About five years ago, my left eye was blasted by a racquetball, requiring immediately stitching surgery to save the eye, after the cornea transplant dislodged and the eye opened and pressure dropped. And on top of everything else, the left eye was developing a cataract, further depleting any residual vision.

So I learned to function well with my right eye mono-vision, doing all the things I needed to do—read and work as an attorney, play racquetball, drive, etc. But then my right eye developed a cataract, ultimately dropping my vision to 20/50 corrected with glasses, with the typical cataract vision issues of night glare, starbursts, color dullness, and hazy vision day and night. It was getting dangerous even trying to drive, having a few fender bender accidents and a few near serious accidents….As Dr. Feldman said, it was getting to the point that I had to risk cataract surgery in my only good eye, because I really had no choice but to do it or gradually become more blind. We waited for a year, getting several new prescriptions and glasses to the point where my “good” eye required 10 diopters of correction, and even then, only corrected to 20/50, at which point we elected to proceed with the cataract surgery.

Comparing Dr. Feldman to the many other eye surgeons I have seen all over the world, I would put her in the conservative category. She has plenty of work, such that unless she really believes surgery is warranted, she won’t do it. I personally know of some friends whom she has rejected for LASIK surgery for various reasons, such as corneas which are too thin. And unlike some other surgeons, she never recommended risking additional cornea refractive surgery to my eyes.

To my relief, I elected to have Dr. Feldman perform cataract surgeries (three weeks apart) to both of my eyes. Going into cataract surgery, I was quite nervous, knowing how much was riding on it, given that I could really only rely on my right eye vision to see. I had previous refractive surgeries and cornea transplants, many of which were quite painful. Additionally, my right eye had the risk of complications, given that Dr. Feldman would have to navigate around a 16 incision RK to extract the cloudy natural lens and to implant the replacement lens, but knowing of her extensive refractive experience, I knew she was the one who could respond to any complication, and that experience was called upon when several of my RK incisions opened during the cataract lens implantation and required four sutures. Dr. Feldman immediately implanted three sutures, kept monitoring the eye, and even had me return the next day (on her day off) to add a fourth suture. In terms of pain, there really was none, as the topical anesthesia and IV was sufficient. Interestingly, I had two different anesthesiologists for each cataract surgery….The first one knocked me out and I didn’t remember a thing, whereas the second kept me awake (which Dr. Feldman said she does, so the patient doesn’t wake up with a jolt during surgery). I had seen the surgery on line and really appreciated being awake, but again, did not feel any pain.

Spencer S. Busby, Esq. Spencer S. Busby & Associates 

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