The late Dr. Robert Stewart was one of the founding doctors of Houston Eye Associates—now the largest ophthalmology group in the United States. While providing some of the best eye care in the country, Dr. Stewart allowed his son, Colby, to spend high school summers working as a technician and scribe in his office. “I learned so much those summers,” says Colby. “My father had a special connection with his patients by educating them, and making them feel at ease.” Today, Dr. Colby Stewart MD has followed in his father’s footsteps at Houston Eye Associates, and has blazed a trail of his own in LASIK and cataract surgery.
“The advances in both cataract and LASIK surgery in the last few years are astounding,” says Dr. Stewart. “For 40 years, ophthalmologists have been using ultrasound to treat cataracts—the clouding of the natural lens of the eye that occurs with age. Today we are using the latest implant and laser technology to perform ‘refractive’ cataract surgery.” This process removes the cataract, while leaving the patient less dependent on glasses after surgery. The laser is used to break up the cataract and reduce or eliminate corneal astigmatism. Every cataract that is removed will be replaced by an artificial lens or intraocular implant. “New technology” implants are now able to reduce the need for both distance and near glasses. “We are now in a position to clear up the vision from cataracts as well as reduce the dependency on glasses, which is very exciting!” says Dr. Stewart. The surgery is performed under topical anesthesia. No shots, no stitches, no eye patch, and patients can resume their regular activities the following day.
But wait. Less dependency on glasses or contacts sounds great, but what if you do not have cataracts? “There’s a reason LASIK is such a popular procedure today,” says Dr. Stewart. “It literally changes the way you see the world, in a matter of minutes. Advances in this field have been dramatic. Where we once used a blade to create a thin flap in the cornea we now use the accuracy of a laser.” LASIK successfully treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism with lasting results. Less than 3% of the eyes that have been treated ever need additional treatment. Not only does Dr. Stewart use the latest LASIK technology, he helped develop it. Several years ago, Dr. Stewart developed tracking and goal-adjusting software to improve patient results. He is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and has been accepted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He was one of the first surgeons in Houston to perform laser refractive cataract surgery.
“Like my father,” says Dr. Stewart, “my goal is to work with each individual patient to help them see the world more clearly. With both LASIK and cataract surgery, patients are amazed at how well they can see, the day after surgery. And that is extremely gratifying. It’s why I love what I do!”
Dr. Colby Stewart, MD