HOUSTON - Cataracts are something that will affect each and every one of us as we age. It's basically sun damage to the eyes. A woman from Missouri City is one of the first patients to undergo surgery, using new state-of-the-art technology for cataracts. She's in awe of seeing clearly once more.
Aileen Nacpil can play tennis again! Only a few weeks ago, she was exhausted with her failing eyesight.
"I think age caught up so quick, and I'm having a problem seeing, you know, seeing at night while driving. I cannot read anymore even with cheaters, I mean, with reading glasses, I cannot read anymore, but the worst part and the biggest thing is my tennis. It's very much effected because the ball has a lot of shadows. I really cannot see," says Nacpil
Aileen came to Dr. Jeff Whitsett with Whitsett Vision Group to find out why her glasses stopped helping her see. He diagnosed her with cataracts. "When you're young, your lens is clear kind of like the substance of hair gel, when you get my age, it becomes a butterscotch candy, it becomes harder and a little yellowed. As you get older, it becomes like a root beer candy, it gets very hard, very discovered and that progression is what a cataract is," explains Dr. Whitsett.
Dr. Whitsett played a pivotal role in the clinical trials for a new lens to treat cataracts. Now the Food and Drug Administration has given its stamp of approval, allowing Dr. Whitsett to be the first doctor not only in Houston but in the country to offer it.
"This lens is the first lens on the market and is really a refractive lens. There are two kinds of multifocal, ones that divide light and ones that dim light. This lens for people that have a really active lifestyle, that are really particular about having a better vision to drive at night can really fit a nice niche for things we haven't had," says Dr. Whitsett.
Aileen says she's relieved to see far distance and up close, after surgery. "I have regained my life - it is awesome! I can see everything, I'm super independent, I don't need my kids to read stuff for me anymore," exclaimed Nacpil.
While cataracts typically happen later in life, it can happen at any age. "I would say if you looked at art in the middle of our bell-shaped curve, probably in the early '70s to mid-70s that we see him as young as I had one patient who was 10-years-old, and we have other people that are still super viable, and they're in their 90s. So, it's just it's hard to predict but again, having different technology for all the different patients is really great," said Dr. Whitsett.
Aileen is still young and active, so Dr. Whitsett felt this was the right lens for her.
Dr. Whitsett told me, "It's almost a connection game with connecting the patient, their anatomy, and their goals with the technology. Now more or less we have the kind of the more challenging that becomes, but more fun that becomes. And I think the better results we can get for those individuals. This is called the ClearView lens by Lenstec. It has been available internationally for almost a decade."
Nacpil admits to being shocked at what the world looks like without her foggy point-of-view now. "I saw my home in a completely different perspective. So funny, when I saw myself in the mirror, almost literally. I saw the good and the bad. I saw my skin was not as nice as I thought it was, it was clouded by cataracts," says Nacpil.
It was almost impossible for Nacpil to see the ball before when she played tennis, so she's happier than ever to see clearly again. "Now I can really say 100-times better that I could truly enjoy the difference with my quality of life is like day and night, I cannot even believe it," she said.
Most health insurance companies and Medicare will pay for cataract surgery but using a lens like this is often an up-charge. Wearing sunglasses and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays can slow the progression of cataracts.
For more information visit: https://www.whitsettvision.com/cataract-surgery