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Everybody gets cataracts if they live long enough. The great news is that cataracts can be easily cured with a simple procedure called; you guessed it, “cataract surgery.”  I did my first cataract surgery in 1996 and it was magical. I can still recall how happy the patient was after a successful surgery. The Chairman of Ophthalmology at Ochsner, Dr. Richard Hesse, said I should do everything in my power to develop my God-given talent. I heeded his advice.

Here I am, 22 years later, and you would think the joy of helping others with cataract surgery would have worn off, BUT IT HASN’T! Rather, it has grown, because now I love the nuances of getting results that are as good as they can be with our other great surgeons who do the cataract surgery. For example, everyone in the medical profession knows that diabetes is the number one cause of vision loss; however, most don’t understand the complex interactions that occur when cataract surgery is performed on diabetics. I have pondered this interaction extensively and have even conducted research on this topic that was presented to LSU and Ochsner ophthalmology residents. The study surveyed 3,010 cataract surgery patients from SEECA (our practice) who had diabetes and other medical conditions. Our extensive research indicated that diabetics WITHOUT PRE-EXISTING EYE PROBLEMS did much better after cataract surgery than we had expected.

As a result of our findings, we have improved our cataract post-operative process so that diabetics now get a special regimen that is different than any other patient. Also, the results of these research findings combined with my experience increases my understanding of diabetics having cataract surgery.

As many know, I was involved in a serious biking accident in 2012, and as a result I broke my neck and was paralyzed. I remember desperately asking my doctors in writing, since I could not speak for months, “What chance do I have of walking again?” They would all respond with the same evasive answer…“IT DEPENDS.” I was very frustrated with this answer because it told me nothing definite. I promised myself that if I ever returned to medicine (which normally would never happen, but thankfully God intervened) I would do my best to PREDICT each patient’s vision following cataract surgery, based on their pre-op condition.  I fully realized that this analysis would require extra effort and time, but I was committed to this effort because I knew my patients deserved an answer to a simple question; “Doc, what do you think my vision will be after cataract surgery?”

I am a lifelong Catholic and attend church in this community. It is an honor to extend a unique offer to the readers of this excellent magazine. I am offering free cataract assessments to new patients who are readers of this magazine simply by mentioning BAYOU CATHOLIC. There is no obligation and no need for previous chart notes as I will conduct a complete exam, including a full retinal exam. I will look carefully at your cataracts and will perform a test that isolates cataracts and indicates how your vision is affected by oncoming car lights, if necessary. No insurance charge will be made and no money will be collected; all we need is you.  Individuals with cataracts deserve to know the status of their cataracts and I am happy to be in a position to help. Following the examination, I will be able to tell you when you are likely to need cataract surgery based on my experience, and I won't say…“IT DEPENDS!”

I want to end with a special thanks to the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Clergy and parishioners who prayed for me during my lengthy recovery after my accident. You might think, as time goes by, that my appreciation for all these acts of kindness would fade. IT’S EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. I can't express, with words, how thankful I am to God for giving me a second chance, and I will be forever thankful for the assistance I received from the amazing Catholics in this area during the biggest hardship of my life.

Check out the current issue of the Bayou Catholic here:

Cataracts; Article for the Bayou Catholic

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