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Patient Story – The Gift of Vision

Posted on May 1, 2012 | 6 comments

Betsy Franklin

“I could barely see,” says Betsy Franklin.

56-year-old Franklin was legally blind in one eye due to cataracts. And, because of a large amount of astigmatism, she also had to wear thick, uncomfortable glasses.

A few days before the Christmas holiday, Franklin went to see Yichieh Shiuey, M.D., her PAMF specialist in cataract, Lasik and cornea surgery, for a post-operative visit.

Two years previously, Dr. Shiuey had performed a successful corneal transplant on Franklin. But now a worsening cataract threatened to steal Franklin’s sight. “I recommended a new astigmatism-correcting lens that would permanently fix her vision as well as her cataracts,” says Dr. Shiuey.

Unfortunately, the special corrective lenses are not covered under medical insurance. When Franklin learned the cost, she told her doctor that she would have to do without. Determined to provide his patient with the best option possible, Dr. Shiuey waived his operating fee and convinced Alcon, the lens manufacturer, to do the same.

“I was shocked,” says Franklin.

Lens implants are regularly used in cataract surgery to restore the focusing power of the eye. Generally a 15-20 minute procedure per eye, the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear, artificial lens. But now, if the person also has an astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness, using new intraocular lens implants, their vision can be corrected at the same time. These lenses are usually made of acrylic (a type of soft plastic) which is readily accepted by the body and last a lifetime.

Tiny incisions, about 2.5 millimeters long, ensure a quick recovery and most people return to their normal activities within several days. “Our success rate is really high,” says Dr. Shiuey. “Over 95 percent of our patients who get these types of lenses end up with vision that is 20/40 or better, which means they can legally drive without glasses.”

“My surgery took less than an hour, I was awake the whole time and there was no pain at all,” says Franklin. “I can’t believe the difference!” she says. “It was as if God had come and given me sight.”

Yichieh Shiuey, M.D.

“Betsy cried and gave me a huge hug,” Dr. Shiuey recalls. “Seeing her so happy with her new vision was my best Christmas present of all.”

Please note that we are unable to respond to personal medical questions through the comments feature below. For information about personalized health care, or if you need help in choosing a PAMF physician, please visit Becoming a PAMF Patient (http://www.pamf.org/findadoctor) or call 1-888-398-5677. If you are a PAMF patient, you can email your doctor securely via our My Health Online program. Thank you

6 Comments

  1. My eye doctor died about 5 years ago, and I need a new doctor. I”m 75 years old and have been near sighted almost all my life.

    • Hi LaNell,

      To find and select a new eye doctor, you can call our Find a Doctor toll-free number at 1-800-398-5677 and visit our website at http://www.pamf.org/findadoctor. You can also learn more about eye care services and resources at PAMF on our website at http://www.pamf.org/eye.

      Thank you for visiting our blog and for your comment. Best wishes!

  2. Dr Shiuey removed cataracts on both of my eyes and replaced with an upgraded lenses . WOW! know I can see without looking through film of grease.
    Thank You

  3. I was impressed by your gesture. I could tell you, I never heard about anybody doing this before. You are a real hero. I hope God will take care of you and your family at least as much as you took care of your patient.

    All my best.
    Mihaela

  4. Wow. Way to go doc. if ever in need I definetely will go to him. It”s great to hear that how he put the patient”s best interest first.

  5. This was the most touching story I have read recently brought me to tears.

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