A staggering 70 percent of adults will get cataracts – clouding of the natural lens in the eye – at some point in their lifetime. While the odds of encountering a cataract are significant, it can be difficult to commit to surgery without a clear picture of what the procedure will entail.
Fortunately, recent advances in cataract surgery technology have made it easier than ever for those going through the process. To give you a glimpse into the current state of cataract surgery, we’ve asked one of our recent patients at OES to share her journey. Read more for a rare glimpse into the questions, decisions, and experiences of a real cataract surgery patient.
A patient’s cataract surgery journey: Diane Brown
At 56 years old, Portland resident Diane Brown had struggled with severely near-sighted vision her entire life. While Diane tried different solutions such as contacts to improve her vision, other complications such as dry eye syndrome made it difficult for her to wear contacts or to correct her vision with LASIK due to these conditions. When Diane discovered she had cataracts, the news came as an immense relief: undergoing cataract surgery could help to resolve her life-long vision struggles.
Before cataract surgery
Those seeking cataract surgery are faced with several important decisions leading up to the procedure – including whom to choose as an ophthalmologist. As a nurse at St. Vincent’s hospital, Diane noticed that many of her medical professional colleagues referred their patients to see Dr. Denman at Oregon Eye Specialists, so she decided to set up an appointment.
“I trusted Dr. Denman right away during my first visit at OES,” says Diane. “He was very honest and straightforward. As a medical professional myself, I liked his professionalism, humor and honesty.”
During Diane’s consultation, Dr. Denman described the surgery: he would replace Diane’s cloudy lens with a modern lens implant that matched her glasses prescription.
“He told me, ‘Most of your glasses correction can be resolved with this surgery. Essentially, we’re moving your glasses inside the eye.’”
Once Diane had a clearer picture of what to expect, she was ready to move forward with confidence.
“Dr. Denman soothed some of my fears, like my worry that I would fidget during the surgery and cause things to go wrong, or my uncertainty about the anesthetic,” says Diane. “I had a lot of questions, but he answered patiently and in a way I could understand.”
During cataract surgery
The technology during cataract surgery has advanced significantly in recent years – and these innovations helped Diane’s surgery to go completely smoothly.
“There are many more options out there today than you might expect,” says Diane. “I thought my surgery would require a nerve block injection, but they don’t do that anymore. In my surgery, they just numbed my eyes with drops and gave me a mild sedative to keep me calm.”
Dr. Denman also notes how cataract surgery advancements benefit the patient, as previously discussed in our blog.
“Over the past few years, new developments in technique have improved safety in surgeries even more,” says Dr. Denman. “Options such as intraocular lenses and advanced eye drop regimens like LessDrops and DropLess have truly changed the game of cataract surgery for the better.”
Diane was thankful for the painless and easy nature of the surgery.
“In our consultation, Dr. Denman explained that the surgery would seem just like a long eye exam – and it was exactly that. The whole thing took less than 15 minutes.”
As it is for most patients, Diane’s surgery resulted in immediate improvements in her vision.
“I was stunned when they put me back in the waiting area after my surgery. I could see right away! All the colors were brighter, and I could see people’s faces without my glasses. My eyesight had been so bad, I had never been able to do that before. I couldn’t believe it.”
Diane’s observations were akin to other patients’ after cataract surgery.
“It’s incredible to speak with patients after they’ve completed cataract surgery” says Dr. Denman. “Some feel they have ‘HD Vision,’ others share new experiences of being able to see at night and appreciate the vibrancy of colors around them. No matter what age, the improvement in sight is dramatic. Being able to deliver this type of impact is why I love my job.”
Look forward to a bright future
Today, Diane couldn’t be happier with the results of her cataract surgery.
“The procedure is so easy and it’s so worth it,” says Diane. “I would strongly encourage anyone whose eyesight is really bad to investigate options with their doctor and move forward.”
Since her procedure, Diane has enjoyed spending time outdoors with her husband, where she can see the details and colors of nature even more vibrantly.
“I’ve noticed so many little differences since the surgery – and they really add up to big changes in my life.”