Known as one of Tampa Bay’s premier jewelers, Julie Weintraub, owner of The Gold & Diamond Source in Clearwater, says, like with most people, her eyesight is a vital part of her day-to-day activities.

“I work with customers every day, and I also do a lot of public speaking,” she explains. “If someone was more than ten feet away from me, I had a hard time seeing their face. Also, working with gemstones, I need to be able to see the intricate details of stones and diamonds in order to provide the best possible service to my customers.”

Over the last few years, Julie says her declining vision was not only interfering with her work, but her social life as well. She was constantly squinting and struggling to see. She had contact lenses, but was uncomfortable wearing them for long periods of time.

“They just bothered me, never felt quite right,” she says. “So, instead of wearing the contacts, I found myself taking multiple pair of glasses everywhere I went and stashing them in my purse, glove box, everywhere. At the same time, I never wanted to wear them, because I never liked how I looked in glasses.

“So, at the end of the day, I was walking around with very impaired eyesight. Night driving was challenging, my work was a challenge, everything. I co-host a local television show, and I had a hard time seeing the teleprompter, which was very awkward. I knew I had to do something to finally address the issue.”

At her jewelry store, Julie was introduced to Neel Desai, MD, of The Eye Institute of West Florida.

“Julie had a condition that affects most of us right around age forty,” Dr. Desai explains. “She had lost her near-range focus. She could still see well for distance, but not as well up close because that range of vision was declining.”

Fortunately for Julie and others like her, technology today has advanced to the point where younger patients, like herself, can now address these issues via a procedure called clear lens exchange.

Clear lens exchange

Because Julie was beyond the stage in her life for LASIK, Dr. Desai suggested the clear lens exchange procedure, which is where the dysfunctional lens is removed and replaced with a fully functional lens.

“In our forties, the natural lens of the eye begins to harden and we are no longer able to focus at different distances,” Dr. Desai explains. “At that stage, instead of waiting another twenty years for a cataract to develop, we can perform a lens replacement. It’s one of the safest surgeries available. It’s fast and easy, and it eliminates the need for glasses or contacts at the mid-life stage. Lens replacement is ideal for patients between forty and sixty years of age. In addition, she now has zero chance of developing cataracts later on.

“Julie’s work requires her to have very precise vision,” he adds. “She needs to be able to see with the utmost clarity up close, within a few inches of her face. Clear lens exchange was her best option for optimal results.”

Julie says the procedure was fast, easy and she was fully recovered within a few days and back to work in no time.

“Typically, eye surgery can be very scary, but Dr. Desai is truly amazing,” she says. “He was comforting and knowledgeable. He made me feel at ease about the procedure. I never would have considered it before meeting him. And the entire procedure took less than ten minutes to perform.

“Now, I can see clearer than I have ever seen before, and I can’t tell you how great that truly is,” she adds. “It’s amazing to me. I can’t believe I waited as long as I did to address it. I recommend Dr. Desai to anyone. In fact, my sister-in-law had the same surgery with Dr. Desai. The staff is great, too. I’m very pleased with my results.”

Dr. Desai says he wants patients to understand there are vision solutions available for every stage of life at The Eye Institute of West Florida.

“We have options available, from LASIK to clear lens exchange to refractive cataract surgery,” he explains. “No matter what age, we can help restore your vision to your younger days or even give you better vision than you have ever had.”

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