For more than 60 years, Beverly Young was dependent on prescription glasses until surgical procedures last winter repaired her cataracts and improved her eyesight, allowing her to toss out her old bifocals.
“My glasses were a crutch for me; they were the last thing I set on my nightstand at night and I put them back on as soon as I got up,” said Young, 75, of Ada. “I just couldn’t see without them. It’s been wonderful to not have to wear glasses.”
Young had the early stages of cataracts forming, which causes cloudiness in the lens of her eye. Dr. Grant Corning, a board-certified ophthalmologist in Ada, performed Young’s cataract surgeries at Mercy Hospital Ada and the results have been outstanding for the avid reader and seamstress.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “Even when I had my bifocals it was a chore to thread a needle. Now, it’s no problem.”
In Focus: A Look at Ophthalmology Services in Ada
Corning, a native of Oklahoma, came to the Ada area in 2010 after completing his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Last year, he purchased the Ada clinic he was working in and renamed it Corning Eye Center.
He is the only ophthalmologist serving the Ada area, which saves patients from driving more than an hour each way to see an ophthalmologist in another community.
“It’s good for the people in Ada to have local care,” said Corning. “When people are 70 or 80 years old, a lot of them aren’t able to drive all that way. We like to think that we provide even better care than they can get in other places, like Oklahoma City.”
Corning mainly treats cataracts, but offers a full menu of ophthalmic services and surgeries, including the treatment of glaucoma, which is damage to the optic nerve; macular degeneration, which is an age-related condition that can cause vision loss; diabetic retinopathy, which is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of blindness; and eyelid procedures to remove growths and excess skin and raise droopy eyelids.
“Cataract surgery over the years has made the most advances,” he said. “In the 1970s, you had cataract surgery that took an hour and a half and you spent a week in the hospital. Now, it’s a 10-minute procedure, on average, and done just under IV sedation. Your total time in the hospital is about two hours. And, most patients see really well within 24 hours.”
Cataract surgery replaces a patient’s natural lens that has a cloudy film over it with a new, permanent lens.
There are several types of clear lenses to choose from, including the standard lens implant that improves long distance vision (near-sightedness), but still requires reading glasses; a lens that corrects for astigmatism, which is an imperfection in the eye’s curvature that causes blurry vision; and a lens that corrects for near-sightedness and far-sightedness, so patients, like Young, no longer need to wear glasses.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 21 million people have a cataract in one or both eyes. By 2020, that figure is expected to increase to more than 30 million people.
Corning performs about 1,500 to 2,000 cataract surgeries each year and said he loves being able to give so many years of good vision back to his patients.
“With cataract surgery, you can restore people who are almost blind to 20/20 vision, which happens on a weekly basis at my practice,” he said. “One of the reasons why I went into ophthalmology is that I can actually improve patients’ eyes so they see better than before they had cataracts.”
Importance of Seeking Regular Eye Care
When Young received her cataract surgery about a year ago, she was still in the early stages of cataract development. But not all patients are so diligent about getting their eyes checked and treated.
Corning said he often sees patients with cataracts and glaucoma who are blind or nearly blind because they waited too long for treatment.
“I always tell people it’s easier to tame small tigers than big tigers,” said Corning. “Once you reach adulthood, I would encourage everyone to see an eye doctor at least once a year just for a check-up, especially if people have any family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.”
Young says she is thankful for her clear vision and the great care she received from Corning and his team at the clinic and from the hospital staff during her surgical visit.
“It is such a blessing to have Dr. Corning and his staff in Ada,” said Young. “I am just absolutely thrilled with them and I’d recommend them to anyone. And, I’m very pleased that after all those years of worrying about glasses I do not have to wear them.”
Corning provides eye check-ups, but does not prescribe eyeglasses or contacts at his clinic. For more information or to make an appointment, call Corning Eye Center at 580-332-1880.