Avera McKennan now offers eye care. One of the services offered by the team of ophthalmologists is cataract surgery. The lens of our eye is normally clear, when it becomes cloudy, which usually happens with age, it's called a cataract. Nancy Naeve Brown got an eyeful as she watched Dr. Jeffrey Stevens give a legally blind man back his vision.
Francisco Palacios traveled all the way from Mexico to Sioux Falls to get bi-lateral cataract surgery now offered at Avera McKennan by Ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffrey Stevens. He's staying with his daughter, Elvia P. Contreras, who lives in Sioux Falls during his recovery which is well underway. We went to his post-op check up the day after his surgery.
"We are restoring his vision so he can drive, read, he could drive or work. It was a major impairment. Most patients I see aren't that progressed," Dr. Stevens with Avera Medical Group Ophthalmology said.
Francisco's cataracts were so bad he was considered legally blind in both eyes.
"We have a natural lens in our eye that helps us focus for near and distance and as we age the cataract becomes cloudy, hard, discolored. Our vision, we don't even notice it becomes an orange or yellow hue so after cataract surgery everything is white again and they'll say they didn't even realize it, "Dr. Stevens said.
Dr. Stevens and Francisco allowed us in the operating room at the Avera Surgery Center to watch as Dr. Stevens removed his very dense cataracts. He starts by making two teeny tiny incisions in the cornea. Those incisions look much bigger on the monitory which is magnified by the microscope. Dr. Stevens is also fluent in Spanish so he could communicate with Francisco before during and after the surgery.
"We try to make incisions as small as possible so the risks of complications are lower, recovery time is much faster, & irritation is decreased considerably. The cornea the front of the eye is where we go in. The iris (color part of the eye) is dilated and the cataract or the natural lens is behind that. Like an M & M we open up the front of it and go inside through the tiny incisions using ultrasound we break the cataract into tiny pieces. Once those pieces are small enough it sucks them up. Then we take a folded up tiny tense and put the artificial lens right back into place where the cataract was. His is only for distance like most people his age he'll need reading glasses but there is a new technology out there we can do for near distance and intermediate zones. It's great technology. It's wonderful, "Dr. Stevens said.
After surgery he has 20/30 vision.
"That's why I love being a cataract surgeon. People come back and say wow doctor; I can't believe what I was missing. It's so gratifying to me, "Dr. Steven said.
Since we are all eventually going to need cataract surgery one day down the road it's nice to know Avera McKennan now has a team of ophthalmologists who have their eyes on the latest technology.
To find more information on Avera Medical Group Ophthalmology or to make an appointment call 605-322-3790 or go to: http://www.avera.org/clinics/ophthalmology/