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Operation Sight: Chippewa Valley Ophthalmologists Give Big for the Holidays

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Coat drives, toy donations – many give what they can for the holidays. This season, Chippewa Valley ophthalmologists are giving the gift of sight to several patients in need.

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic (CVEC) has partnered with The Chippewa Valley Free Clinic in Eau Claire to provide eye care to those in need in our community. For several years, CVEC doctors and staff have volunteered their time at the Free Clinic and given eye exams free of charge. Now they are able to perform several cataract surgeries.

Ernesto Geroy and his wife, Jocelyn moved to the United States from the Philippines. They were both greatly in need of cataract removal, but had not been able to receive surgery because they could not afford the medical care.

Dr. Lee Hofer, Ophthalmologist at CVEC and volunteer at the Free Clinic, reached out to surgeons and facilities willing to meet this need. Dr. Hofer’s partners at CVEC, Dr. Thomas Harvey and Dr. Heidi Jarecki, both graciously agreed to perform the operations, as well as Dr. Terry McCanna in Chippewa Falls.

“The goal in providing eye care at the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic is to offer examination, treatment, and care for any person in need, free of the usual financial obligation,” Dr. Hofer says.
“Through the combined generosity of CVEC surgeons, the Independent Surgery Center in Hallie, and Oakleaf Surgical Hospital in Altoona, we are now able to fulfill our commitment by providing some of the surgical services commonly needed in eye care.”

Now Ernesto, Jocelyn, and several other Free Clinic patients are able to undergo surgery and regain their sight.

From left to right: Dr. Thomas Harvey, Ernesto Geroy, Jocelyn Geroy, and Dr. Lee Hofer

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic has a long tradition of helping those with fewer resources,” says Dr. Harvey. “We believe this gift of sight restoration will allow great contributions by these patients in the future and we are pleased to make this happen for them.

While our cataract removal procedures today are more precise than ever, as are the methods of calculating the lens power to be implanted, some occasions arise where the post cataract surgery result is short of the goal. This is the situation where the Refractive Laser comes into consideration. Usually, in these situations, some basic form of common refractive error, myopia or astigmatism remain.

If, after an adequate healing period of 4-6 months, this persists, a type of laser known as an Excimer laser can be used to treat this residual refractive amount by reshaping the cornea in the same fashion that has been done for 20+ years for patients seeking independence from glasses. It is a quick procedure, taking less than ten minutes in most cases and after healing, usually within 2 weeks, noticeable visual improvement is achieved with complete recovery at 2-3 months.

The addition of this procedure to compliment or complete the cataract visual recovery process has been of great benefit to many people. When discussing cataract surgery with your eye care professional, ask them if you would be a Premium Lens candidate and after any cataract surgery, if you feel your visual outcome is short of your expectation, engage your surgeon in the discussion of whether Laser Refractive Surgery would be advisable.

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