COLORADO SPRINGS — When it comes to eye surgery to remove cataracts for those who have never had eye surgery, the prospect of having your eye worked on can be nerve racking.
When Shairon Tefft's cataract began affecting her vision to a point she was having trouble seeing throughout the day, “Just blurry vision, you feel like you need your glasses more,” she knew it was time to get it taken care of.
Shairon says the thought of having eye surgery was a tiny bit unnerving. “I’m a flincher and I thought, ‘how can they possibly hold my eye open?’”
Shairon says for the actual surgery itself, “Easy as all get out. You're given a mild sedative, you recline, and you don't even know it’s going on.”
Dr. Michael Haas, an ophthalmologist and the Owner of Haas Vision Center in Colorado Springs explains, “We typically perform (surgery) in an outpatient freestanding surgery center. There's a nurse anesthetist right there and if you're not totally comfortable, they can continue to give you medications until you are. Some people actually fall asleep through surgery, and some are at least vaguely aware of what's going on although your total procedure should be very comfortable without any pain or discomfort. You go home the same day. It's usually less than half a day for the procedure. At this point in time, we are using instrumentation and making small enough incisions that people recover very quickly - typically speaking. They're able to resume most normal activities pretty quickly. For something like swimming, we might hold them out for a couple of weeks.”
Dr. Haas says one of the most important parts of his job is to make sure he sets realistic expectations about post-op results. “Something we always talk about pre-operatively is that while we are doing very well with our cataract results, everyone wants to see exactly 20/20 right after surgery. The fact is the vision will be a little bit different after surgery. When I say that, in a typical mono-focal lens, if your distance vision is great you can drive a car without glasses, watch TV, do your day-to-day stuff and you'll find that you typically still need reading glasses for up close vision. There are some lenses that try to give you a full range of vision from up close to far away, I don't know if we have a lens that will exactly give you a perfect range of vision at all distances. We're certainly moving toward that and getting better and better, but I try to emphasize that we're going to make you as glasses independent as possible. We may not eliminate glasses completely, but we try to minimize the dependence on them while giving you the best possible overall vision.”
The big takeaway says Dr. Haas is that if you're struggling with your vision in new ways, it’s something you shouldn’t ignore. “I know some people will put off eye exams just because they're not sure what's going on. I think the most important thing is if you're having any cloudy vision or hazy vision, come in so we can take a look. Often we find that we can get you seeing better with glasses or something non-invasive and that's always the preferred option.”
Shairon says her vision is greatly improved these days and she is glad she didn't put her eye surgery off. “It's just smart to do it; it's such a simple thing. My vision is fine now, I mean I don't even really need my glasses for distance. The next time I get a prescription I'll just get it for reading.”
Shairon also says finding the right surgeon for her was an important part of the process. “I was very happy with the professionalism and the knowledge (at Haas Vision Center) which was great.”
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