Cataract surgeon offers Quigley Cares programs | News, Sports, Jobs

Dr. Thomas Quigley. PHOTO PROVIDED

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Those who have debilitating cataracts and are experiencing financial hardship can qualify for the Quigley Cares program, a program that pays for the entire cataract surgery.

Quigley Eye Specialists Founder and Cataract Surgeon Dr. Thomas Quigley said when he was in high school his sister Cathy, who was in her mid-20s, developed a rare eye disease called uveitus, an autoimmune disease that attacks the tissues of the eye.

“We could never find out why she got this disease” he said, adding that they had traveled the country and his sister had 16 different eye surgeries. “Still, she went blind.”

One of Cathy’s eyes had to be removed and the other was deemed blind. She now has a guide dog.

“When she had these 16 surgeries, no one gave her a financial break.” Quigley said what eventually led to his sister filing for bankruptcy.

Because of that experience, he was determined to change other people’s lives, which started the Quigley Cares Program.

“People are important to me. We all think about our lives at some point and say if we made a difference in this world. I want to make a difference, that’s important to me. We will always help people “, he said.

In 1988, Quigley started his practice and saw that there were a number of people who didn’t have insurance, so when Quigley Eye Specialist began opening, he started waiving the surgeon’s fee. Unfortunately, there was still a setup fee that he couldn’t do without if the operation was performed in a hospital, for example.

In 1994 Quigley thought that “That’s silly, these patients still can’t afford it” Surgery. The St. John’s Surgery Center was built on Conference Drive in Fort Myers, so Quigley could do without the operation entirely. The year-round program performed more than 3,000 free surgeries.

“It is important for people to know, free means free” said Quigley. “These are people who don’t have insurance. We don’t charge them anything. “

Although it cost him tens of thousands of dollars to offer Quigley Cares, he said it was about giving back and serving the community.

“We want to contribute to the community to make it a better place” said Quigley. “It was a great program.”

Quigley Eye Specialist has partnered with the Fort Myers Lions Club to help people in need of cataract surgery during Cataract Awareness Month in June. Quigley Cares is offered to U.S. residents of Lee County who are in financial distress, not eligible for Medicare, and have debilitating cataracts.

Frances Wilhelm, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, said individuals must contact the Fort Myers Lions Club by June 30 at (239) 205-2166 or email [email protected] or have funds to pay for the operation.

“You must be in the county where we operate, be it Charlotte, Collier, or Lee County. We have offices across the state, in Miami and Sarasota. “ said Wilhelm.

If the person qualifies for the program, Wilhelm said they’ll be referred to Quigley’s ophthalmologist for surgery and one of the surgeons will examine them to help plan the cataract surgery.

“I’ve worked with several surgeons. There has never been such an extraordinary surgeon and person. Dr. Quigley has the greatest heart and service to the community. “ She said.

Quigley said the surgery itself was pretty short, only taking seven to eight minutes. The patient is sedated so that he does not feel any discomfort. There are two different types of lasers that are used during surgery – one to assist the surgeon and the other to remove the cataract with ultrasound.

When someone has cataracts, their vision becomes cloudy, blurry, or cloudy. Quigley said that since the lens in her eye is cloudy, it must be removed.

“You can’t see anything without a lens. We have to put in a lens again. We insert an implant and it requires a prescription so that we can see well without glasses. “ he said.

Although the patient feels drowsy on the day of the surgery due to the sedation, they can resume normal activities the next day.

“It’s a quick recovery. The eye is completely healed within a week. “ said Quigley. “Implants are a big step forward.”

Quigley Eye Specialists is located at Lehigh Acres, 5220 Lee Blvd .; two offices in Cape Coral – 112 Del Prado North and 513 Cape Coral Pkwy. W., and a location in Fort Myers Beach, 11170 Summerlin Square Dr.

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