Health | Judy Conway

By: Judy Conway  09-12-2011
Keywords: Due Diligence

I recently turned 65 and signed up with Medicare. I was having serious vision problems related to cataracts.  As I normally do, I did my due diligence researching other ophthalmologist offices in my area.  From the very start I received courteous, helpful information and assistance from Thomas Eye Group at their Woodstock, Georgia office.  I made an appointment with Dr. Mark Berman to see what I needed could be done to correct my vision problems.

During my first visit I spoke with Mickie Holland, the surgical coordinator, before I met with Dr. Mark Berman. Mickie assisted me in filling out all of the forms I would need for surgery and armed me with lots of informative brochures, prescriptions for eye drops that had to be used before and two weeks after surgery, and instructions for things I would need to know before the day of surgery.  She assisted me with the necessary procedures for surgery and she made filling out all the necessary paperwork a breeze.

Next, Krista, one of the associates did all the primary testing procedures that are normally done when you have your eyes examined.  She was both personable and exhibited knowledge and professionalism.

Dr. Berman came in and spoke to me about my options after reviewing the test results.  He informed me that he could strengthen my eyeglass prescription but I would never be able to see well enough to pass a driving test.  I let him know that I had already scheduled the first cataract surgery.  He agreed this was a good decision.  He shared with me that if he had not known that the glasses they had read the prescription on when I first arrived belonged to me, he would have thought that I had given them someone else’s glasses.  That is how much my vision had changed and how poorly I was seeing.  That was really scary.  I knew that I was having difficulty seeing, but never realized just how bad my vision had gotten. The scary thing is that it happened quite rapidly. I had joked with Krista telling her that I could not see the phone number on the TV screen to vote for the American Idol I liked!  I knew my vision was seriously failing when I had to stand in front of the TV to see the channel guide.

Approximately two weeks later my daughter and two grandchildren drove me to the Thomas Eye Surgery Center across from Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta.  I must admit that I was a tad bit nervous!  I was called back for surgery, which I was told would take approximately 2 hours.  The actual procedure that Dr. Berman would perform took about 20 minutes.  The remainder of the time was spent in putting in eye drops to numb the eye, dilation drops, getting set up with an IV that would provide something to help me relax, blood pressure readings, oxygen set up, etc.  Even though it is a simple procedure, it is still surgery and precautions are taken.  Sharon was my prep nurse and a delightful person and Dr. Whitehouse was my anesthesiologist. My feelings of anxiety were quickly calmed.  I was wheeled from the preparation area into the operating room.  Dr. Berman performed his magic and I was taken back to the initial.  My daughter was called to come and get me and go over an explicit sheet of instructions.  When I left I had a protective cup-like gizmo bandaged over my eye and told I could remove it in approximately two hours.

I am so blessed that my daughter and patient grandchildren were by my side.  My son-in-law too!  I went back to their house and my daughter said they would feel better if I spent the night. Not knowing what might happen, she wanted to be close by.  They all waited on me hand and foot.  As they always do.  They too made me feel very special.

Two hours went by and I took off the bandages.  I nervously looked at the TV and was so utterly amazed to read all the fine print.  I had a post-op appointment with Dr. Berman the next day.  Testing at that time proved that I had 20/20 vision in the eye that just had surgery.  I scheduled the next surgery in about four weeks.

If you are planning on cataract surgery, it is very important that you follow the instructions for using the various eye drops.  This will definitely help your surgery and healing process.

Having one eye at 20/20 and the other still really bad I was going to have difficulty with my regular glasses.  The optician at Thomas Eye Group was kind enough to take out the prescription lens from my glasses and put in a clear one.

I have gone into detail as to the procedures you will encounter if you are considering cataract surgery.  The surgery for the second eye was just like the first.  The only exception was I did not feel anxious at all.

In closing, if you know an older person  whose surroundings do not seem as clean as they used to be, do not criticize … my daughter had told me that I had cob webs and dirt that I had not been able to see.  As I usually have a very clean house, she realized that I must be having problems seeing.  Of course, now that I have had my cataract surgery I have become a cleaning fanatic!

I truly want to thank Thomas Eye Group for giving me back my world.  I now can see individual leaves on my shrubs that once just looked like green blobs.  I have my independence back with being able to drive and see the road signs.

This experience has given me great compassion for people who are blind or having problems seeing.  You really feel like your world is closing in around you and become fearful of going out of your familiar surroundings.

Keywords: Due Diligence

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