Specialists within the field of ophthalmology are ophthalmologists who have completed additional fellowship training for surgery related to a specific ocular disease or condition. These specialties include cataracts; refractive treatments, such as LASIK or a Clear Lens Exchange; glaucoma; retinal diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachments; and oculoplastic procedures, such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). When a problem with your vision arises, you want to see a specialist. James and Anita can attest to that.
Like most people, James, a 55-year-old attorney in good health, took his eyesight for granted. That changed when one typical day at work he noticed a sudden light flash that lasted for a split second. A busy attorney, James had clients to meet and felt he couldn’t fuss with a minor issue during a hectic day.
Later, he noticed that his left eye felt slightly irritated. He’d long worn contact lenses to correct his nearsightedness and assumed they were causing the sensation. He took out his contacts, deciding to use a new pair the following day. The next morning, James thought everything was fine until he noticed small flashes of light in his left eye and a shadow in the lower portion of his left eye. He removed his contacts but the flashes and shadow didn’t go away.
Beginning to worry, he called his ophthalmologist, who informed him that his symptoms sounded like a possible retinal detachment. He told James to make an appointment with a vitreoretinal specialist as soon as possible and referred him to The Eye Institute of West Florida.
Upon calling The Eye Institute, James was told to come see a vitreoretinal specialist immediately. After an examination and few tests, the vitreoretinal specialist informed James that he had in fact experienced a retinal detachment in his left eye. He told James that a retinal detachment is vision threatening and that he needed to perform an emergency vitrectomy that afternoon in order to prevent any permanent vision loss.
The Eye Institute is home to the premier ophthalmology surgery center in Tampa Bay, The Largo Ambulatory Surgery Center. Conveniently located on the second floor of The Eye Institute, James only needed to take the elevator upstairs for his procedure. The doctor performed James’ emergency vitrectomy, and because he was treated by a specialist before any permanent damage occurred, he didn’t lose any vision.
A retinal detachment is more likely to occur in people who are extremely nearsighted, have had a retinal detachment in the other eye, have a family history of retinal detachment, have had an injury to the eye or suffer from other eye diseases. James will continue to have regular check ups to ensure stable eye health.
Anita, a 67-year-old retired teacher in Michigan, tutors students and substitute teaches in her free time. She has three grandchildren, all active in school. Anita loves attending their sporting and music events and often drives them to and from school. She is dependent on her vision for all these activities.
Anita began wearing contact lenses in her 20s when her optometrist found her distance vision was impaired. Her near range of vision was not a problem, although she noticed it began to change in her 40s, requiring her to switch to a bifocal prescription. By age 67, she found her vision changing again and went to see her usual optometrist, who performed her eye exams and prescribed her contact lenses. She was seeing halos while driving at night making her uncomfortable to drive her grandchildren. She noticed that colors were not as vibrant as she remembered and teaching students was becoming increasingly difficult.
She and her husband enjoy five months of the year in Tampa, Florida, where their family often visits for the holidays. Prior to leaving Michigan in October for their stay in Florida, Anita made an appointment with her optometrist to discuss how she could improve her vision.
Anita’s optometrist said she may need cataract surgery. A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which occurs as a normal part of aging. He explained that a general ophthalmologist is able to perform cataract surgery but that a cataract specialist is someone who receives additional training and is able to perform advanced refractive cataract surgery, which enables patients to get out of glasses. He knew that The Eye Institute of West Florida offers the most advanced technology and has world-renowned cataract surgeons, so he scheduled Anita to have a cataract evaluation once she got to Tampa.
During her consultation with her cataract specialist at The Eye Institute, Anita learned about the option for her vision to be completely corrected during her cataract surgery using a premium lens and laser to correct her astigmatism. She was informed that she might possibly need an inexpensive pair of reading glasses. Anita knew that was the best option for her. Following her cataract surgery using a Crystalens implant, she is seeing 20/15 for the first time in her life without glasses or contacts.
The Eye Institute offers a specialist for every different ocular condition, including cataracts; refractive treatments; diseases of the vitreous, retina and macula; glaucoma and oculoplastic procedures.
When you experience a problem with your vision or if you have a family history of any ocular disease, always see a specialist.