Gary Griffiths has always loved being outdoors. But cataracts had gradually clouded the 73-year-old’s vision, dulling his sense of the beauty of nature and reducing his ability to drive at night and see details. Now, thanks to cataract surgeries performed by Michael Rauser, chair of Loma Linda University Department of Ophthalmology, Griffiths is thrilled to again see the vivid colors of the forest and eager for hunting and fishing trips with his grandson.
Griffiths’ optometrist diagnosed the onset of his cataracts 15 years ago. Cataracts are often caused by the natural aging of the eyes, which begins around age 40. As proteins in the eyes’ lenses break down over time, the ability to see clearly is reduced. Frequent exposure to bright sunlight without eye protection is another common cause of cataracts.
Symptoms of cataracts include blurry or double vision, sensitivity to light, difficulty seeing at night, and seeing bright colors as faded or yellow. If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to have your eyes checked.
Since it’s not possible to predict how quickly cataracts will progress, Griffiths decided to wait and see what would happen. His vision degraded so gradually that he couldn’t tell how bad it had gotten. Finally, when his prescription glasses were no longer helping him see road signs while driving, he decided to call Rauser and have the procedures.
Rauser performed the procedure on the right eye in January and on the left eye in March. Griffiths said each eye surgery took only about 20 minutes, and the appointments took a total of about two hours each. He requested local anesthesia only for the procedures. It took a few hours for the eyes to adjust after the surgeries, but the next day after his second procedure, he and Rauser were pleased with the results.
“Gary did really well with the surgeries,” Rauser said. “He now has 20/20 vision in both eyes and excellent distance vision without the need for glasses, so he’s a pretty happy guy.”
Griffiths is a general contractor and avid outdoorsman who moved to California from his native Oklahoma in 1975. He adopted his 13-year-old grandson, Graham, when the boy was 3, and every year the two drive back to Oklahoma to enjoy a few weeks of hunting and fishing.
“I’m tickled to death that I have 20/20 vision, but I’m even more tickled that the colors and the light and the brightness have come back into my life,” Griffiths said.
Griffiths was so happy with his restored vision that he wanted to encourage anyone with cataracts to have the procedure, so they can know the clarity he is enjoying.
“Everybody needs to quit putting it off and go get it done and enjoy it, because you only have so many days left,” Griffiths said. “You can live out the rest of the days half blind, or you can take 40 minutes of your life and go see.”