Resilience is a remarkable thing. As an ophthalmologist in Charleston, SC, I know this well. After refractive or cataract surgery, the human eye has the incredible power to mend rapidly and allow us to see clearly once again. . A LASIK patient is able to resume routine activities as soon as the very next day. And advanced cataract surgery patients are not only returning to routine activities just as quickly — many of them are feeling 20 years younger, just like that.
Our great state of South Carolina is again proving its own resilience in the wake of this month’s historic storms. We would be remiss if we did not applaud the first-responders and relief workers who played and continue to play such a vital role in our area’s recovery. At our practice, we understand that good vision is essential for those involved in these public service roles, and that glasses and contact lenses can be a detriment in their lines of work. We are proud of our Everyday Heroes program, which offers all current law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, as well as teachers and active and retired military a substantial savings on Blade-Free Custom LASIK.
As we begin to put our lives and homes back together after the storms, some of us will step back and take stock of what we can do to better prepare ourselves in the event of a future emergency. Physicians of all specialties often field inquiries after natural disasters from people who are concerned about their health and ability to care for themselves and their families during times of crisis.
In addition to extreme weather, fall and winter bring other hazards to some of our patients in Mt. Pleasant, Charleston, and the Lowcountry. When Daylight Saving Time ends in a few weeks, many folks will suddenly find themselves driving home from work, school, or other activities in the dark.
For people who have blurry vision and especially those with cataracts, driving in the dark is worrisome and perhaps dangerous. As we age, our eyes simply do not function as well in the dark. When your vision is clouded by a cataract, you will see halos or “auras” around lights, headlights may seem brighter than they really are, and colors appear faded. It can be hard to make out lane markings and the glare from headlights and signs can be dizzying. Add rain to the equation, and you have an especially frightening and hazardous situation.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have a cataract until quite some time has passed. On average, cataract patients wait two years too long to seek treatment. Many just accept vision loss as part of getting older and assume that it can’t be corrected. Cataract surgery enables people to see more clearly, particularly in low light or dark situations. This provides enhanced safety, whether you’re experiencing a power outage, hunkering down for another storm, or driving at night.
If you suspect you or a loved one might have a cataract, the first step is to make an appointment at the office of a board-certified ophthalmologist. Most of my patients who do need cataract surgery are surprised by how fast and painless the procedure is. These days, there is typically no need for stiches, patches, or needles, and the procedure is performed in our relaxing, state-of-the-art facility.
If you were affected by the recent storms, please know that you are in my thoughts and the thoughts of my entire staff at this time.