There is a Latin proverb that states “if the wind will not serve, take the oars”. I cannot think of many people who better exemplify this mantra than my mother-in-law Marion State. She has been bravely battling a blood cancer called multiple myeloma for over 15 years. By investigating treatment options including some considered experimental, she has far outperformed the average life expectancy of myeloma, which is 5 years. Her determination to persevere inspires me and her large extended family daily.
Unfortunately, as with many medical treatments, they come at a price. One year ago Marion began complaining about her vision and claiming, like many do, that her glasses were “not right”. I examined her and found that the cause of her poor vision was in fact dense cataracts, in her case caused by one of the medications she was taking for her cancer. Marion was devastated by the news, as she feared cataract surgery more than almost any medical procedure. I reassured her that cataract surgery is quick, painless, and would completely clear up her vision.
When cataract surgery is performed, an artificial lens is placed in the eye to give patients sharp, clear vision. Various lens options are available to best correct patients’ vision and that address their lifestyle needs. These include lenses that correct preexisting astigmatism (toric lenses) as well as lenses that focus from distance to near, allowing almost complete independence from glasses after the surgery. When a toric lens was recommended to Marion, she was unsure if it was “worth it” for her to proceed with an upgraded lens given her cancer. I advised Marion that she would be sorry only if she DID NOT select the lens best suited to correct her vision.
Marion took my advice and I am happy to report that she is thrilled with the results of her procedure. She found the surgery straightforward and painless. With her 20/20 vision she is easily able to read, watch TV, drive, and enjoy her grandchildren.
At Akler Eye Center, my experienced staff and I take pride in our approach to the whole patient when discussing cataract surgery and lens options. Helping patients achieve, and often surpass, their vision goals despite potentially limiting medical and ocular conditions is a task I will never tire of.
By: Michelle Akler, MD