Cataract surgeries help people see nature’s beauty


Hello again,

We have now had more days in January with temperatures above normal than below normal. As I write this the temperature outside is approaching 60 degrees. It’s a great way to end January if you ask me.

As I look out my window I see the leafless gray-brown trees swaying in the wind contrasted against tall green pines and the gray winter sky. It is a beautiful sight.

There was a time not too long ago that folks with cataracts had little hope of regaining their full vision and enjoying nature’s wonders. Most of us take the privilege of sight for granted and I know many of our readers have had cataract surgery and know firsthand what a blessing it is.

My research for Black History Month led me to Dr. Patricia E. Bath, a world-famous ophthalmologist. For more than 30 years, Bath’s research and career objectives have been directed toward the prevention, care and treatment of blindness.


Her impressive accomplishments include the invention and subsequent acquisition of a patent for an “apparatus for ablating and removing cataract lenses” named the Laserphaco Probe; introduction of a discipline, community ophthalmology; and co-founding of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness.

The Laserphaco Probe consists of an optical laser fiber surrounded by irrigation and aspiration (suction) tubes. The laser probe can be inserted into a tiny incision in the eye. The laser energy vaporizes or phacoblates the cataract and lens matter within a few minutes.

The decomposed lens is extracted when liquid supplied by the irrigation line washes through and is sucked out through the aspiration tube, and a replacement lens is inserted.


Prior to her invention, cataract removal was performed manually with a mechanical grinding device and only limited to secondary cataract surgery. Bath’s probe is not only being used for primary or initial cataract surgery, but it increases the accuracy of the procedure as well as reducing the attendant discomfort.

With the emphasis on making basic eye care available to underserved segments of the population, Bath introduced a new discipline, community ophthalmology, which incorporates elements of health care, community medicine and clinical ophthalmology.

Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness with three colleagues. The Institute’s basic objective is to protect, preserve and restore eyesight.


Bath’s dedication, caring and global vision eminently qualify her to be an advocate of telemedicine, which provides medical services to remote areas via electronic communication. With the “right to sight” as her credo, she remains on the cutting edge of research and innovation in her field.

As a farmer I know how often we take shortcuts and forget to wear eye protection. Don’t take your eyesight for granted and make sure those safety glasses and shields are available for everyone working on your farm.

That’s all for now!
FSA Andy


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FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio.



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