Bridgeport Hospital ophthalmologists offer a wide array of services designed to repair, restore and enhance vision, including cataract surgery. Here, Bridgeport Hospital Chief of Ophthalmology, Brian DeBroff, MD, performs a procedure on the eye.
Bob Mori of Trumbull has sharper vision after cataract surgery on both eyes thanks to new laser surgical technology available at Bridgeport Hospital. The 80-year-old Mori has coped with several vision impairments over the years, including astigmatism, a common eye condition that blurs vision. For the last two years, he had also been tracking cataracts with Bridgeport Hospital’s chief of Ophthalmology, Brian DeBroff, MD.
Cataracts (clouding of the eye’s natural lens) occur when aging, injury or medical conditions such as diabetes change the tissue that makes up the lens.
Mori was experiencing a distracting “halo effect” when driving at night, which made it hard for him to see. He also had difficulty reading printed material, such as books and newspapers, because his eyes couldn’t pick up the contrast between the text and the background. “I had to read a 243-page book on an iPhone because the bright white background made the text look sharper,” Mori said.
Dr. DeBroff told Mori he might benefit from the use of the hospital’s new Catalys femtosecond laser system. A femtosecond is one quadrillionth of a second, the ultrashort endurance of each burst of energy emitted by the laser.
“The Catalys laser allows the surgeon to complete preparatory steps safely and precisely, then continue by removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens,” Dr. DeBroff explained. “The artificial lens is positioned in the same place as the natural lens and remains a permanent part of the eye.”
Mori was given a choice between the new technology and a traditional cataract removal. In laser-assisted cataract surgery, a laser replaces or assists the use of a hand-held surgical tool for making incisions in the cornea (the transparent layer forming the front of the eye) and eye lens capsule, and also softens the cataract making it easier to remove.
After discussing the differences in procedure with Dr. DeBroff, Mori said that for him, “it was a no-brainer to go ahead with the laser-assisted surgery.”
Because Mori had cataracts in both eyes, he had to have two surgeries, one for each eye, on different days, two weeks apart. He described his first experience as “a walk in the park.” He said the procedure was quick and handled expertly by Dr. DeBroff and the Bridgeport Hospital team. He felt well immediately afterward.
“When I left the hospital that morning, my wife and I went out to a great breakfast and I watched the Masters golf tournament that afternoon. I noticed a difference in my vision right away,” Mori recalled.
He couldn’t wait to get the second surgery done. Now, Mori sees clearer at night, colors are much brighter and he is able to read printed materials better.
“I’ll still need glasses for reading, but it’s a significant improvement,” Mori said. “I probably won’t need a new script for distance, and I almost have 20/20 vision in my left eye.”
“In Bob’s case, the Catalys laser provided him the benefit of refractive surgery along with the removal of his cataracts,” said Dr. DeBroff. “The precision of the incisions treats astigmatism, allowing for better distance vision.”
Another patient, Willery Beasley, experienced the medical and safety benefits of the Catalys laser along with enhanced vision after cataract surgery.
Beasley, an 80-year-old Woodbridge resident, had a cornea transplant in her left eye when she was in her 20s. When she developed cataracts almost 10 years ago, she couldn’t find an ophthalmologist willing to perform the surgery given the risk of damage to the transplanted cornea.
She was about to travel to New York City for a medical consultation when her optometrist said she knew of a medical expert much closer in Bridgeport.
Beasley was referred to Bridgeport Hospital ophthalmologist Vicente Diaz, MD, and immediately knew he was “the one.”
“He knew he could help me. It didn’t bother him that I had the transplant. His confidence gave me confidence,” she said.
“In planning for her surgery, we wanted to do everything possible to remove her cataract without damaging her transplanted cornea,” Dr. Diaz explained. “Using the Catalys laser, we were able to perform some technical parts of the case easier and also decrease the energy required to break down her cataract. As a result, her transplanted cornea did very well and she had an excellent recovery.”
“Excellent” is also the word Beasley used when she described Dr. Diaz, her vision immediately after surgery, and her entire experience at Bridgeport Hospital.
“Laser-assisted surgery is a major advancement in cataract surgery,” said Dr. Diaz. “Outcomes are much more precise and predictable. Also, because the laser uses less energy to break down the cataract than previous technology, it can be beneficial to patients like Willery who have fragile eye conditions.”