Mountaintop Medicine from Estes Park Health: Cataract surgery at Estes Park Health helps patients see clearly again

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Peggy Beck of Estes Park recently had brief eye surgery at Estes Park Health that will help change her vision for the better. Like many seniors, Peggy has cataracts. That’s a condition when the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy over time due to protein degradation as the eye ages.

“Pretty much everybody gets cataracts,” EPH Ophthalmologist Dr. Sarah Dech said. “It’s just whether they get bad enough that you need surgery. Cataracts are pretty much unavoidable. It’s kind of like getting wrinkles. It just happens with aging. We watch them and once they’re bad enough that they’re impacting your vision, we would go ahead and take them out.”

Cataract surgery patients are sedated but awake during the 15-minute procedure. The surgeon preps the eye and holds it open as she operates while peering under a powerful microscope.

“I make a very small incision in your cornea which is the front most part of your eye,” Dr. Dech explained. “I enter that small incision with an ultrasound machine. I use the ultrasound machine to break up the lens into multiple little pieces and I use that same machine to vacuum it out. I do some cleaning up and then we insert a lens into the eye.”

The lens is folded up like a tiny taco to fit through the slit. The warmth of the eye causes it to unfurl into place. No sutures are used. The eye will heal on its own.

Beck is grateful to have this kind of precision eye surgery service close to home.

“It’s nice and close,” Beck commented. “The physician is very accessible. And I can call and reach somebody right away. That’s very helpful. Very nice. Dr. Dech is wonderful. I’m sending other people to her.”

“You’re taking somebody who wasn’t seeing very well and hopefully giving them very good post-op vision,” she noted. “People are grateful for that. It’s giving them their quality of life back.”

Along with cataracts, Dr. Dech also helps patients with macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, retinal detachments, floaters, and acute infections.

“I think the patients at Estes Park Health are just incredible,” Dr. Dech added. “Everyone is so grateful to have ophthalmology up here and I really feel that. I feel appreciated and everyone is so kind and so gracious.”

For precision eye care by a highly trained surgeon close to home, think Estes Park Health.