Ever Wonder How An Ophthalmologist Chooses A Cataract Surgeon?

Gold ball near the holeWith his golf game in jeopardy, now retired ophthalmologist Frank Howell knew it was time to schedule cataract surgery. Six years later, we caught up with Dr. Howell to find out how he’s doing and why Key-Whitman President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., was his first and only choice to perform the cataract procedure.

How Dr. Howell Chose His Cataract Surgeon

About a year prior to his 2011 cataract surgery, Dr. Frank Howell realized his cataract symptoms were starting to interfere with his golf game. As he explains, “I’m a golfer and play every chance I get. Eventually, I noticed I couldn’t see the ball after it got out in the distance. The problem kept getting worse, so I knew I was going to need cataract surgery soon.”

Before scheduling cataract surgery, Dr. Howell did plenty of research first. As an eye doctor who is well-versed in cataract surgery techniques and the high-technology lens options available, he wasn’t pleased with how some intraocular lenses (IOLs) implanted during cataract surgery performed. Many patients could see satisfactorily for distance, but Dr. Howell believed the near vision correction was not adequate.

To prepare for his upcoming surgery, Dr. Howell started looking at other cataract surgery lens options. What the doctor didn’t realize at the time was, during his quest to find the best available technology to meet his personal vision goals, he would also meet the eye surgeon he would choose to perform his cataract surgery.

Dr. Howell And Dr. Whitman’s Work History

“At a 2006 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in Atlanta, I explained my dilemma about IOLs to a friend I knew from our days training in ophthalmology at Henry Ford Hospital. That colleague recommended I speak with Dr. Jeffrey Whitman, because he was experienced with implanting accommodative intraocular lenses (IOLs) in cataract patients. We spoke at length and he ended up becoming a mentor to me, even though he was much younger,” Dr. Howell says.

Unlike traditional IOLs used in cataract surgery, which only correct distance vision, or IOLs with two focal lengths (one for near vision, one for distance), high-technology accommodative lenses help patients see better near, far and in the intermediate range.

After Dr. Whitman explained the positive outcomes and satisfaction his patients were experiencing in Dallas, Dr. Howell began recommending accommodative lenses to his cataract patients. When Dr. Howell wasn’t satisfied with the initial results some patients experienced with the new IOLs, he reached out to Dr. Whitman for advice. With this insight in hand, patient outcomes with the new IOL were very good. Dr. Howell started using this lens technology exclusively, and his patients were very happy with the results.

Why Did Dr. Howell Drive 350 Miles To Have Dr. Whitman Perform His Cataract Surgery In Dallas?

When Dr. Howell’s need for cataract treatment became imminent, he knew an accommodative lens would be the best option for his needs. He also was willing to travel from his home in Amarillo to Dallas so Dr. Whitman could perform his surgery.

Here are some of the factors that influenced Dr. Howell to choose Dr. Whitman:

  1. Dr. Whitman’s esteemed national reputation in ophthalmology.
  2. His strong track record in performing successful cataract procedures.
  3. His in-depth knowledge of high-technology lenses.
  4. The Key-Whitman state-of-the-art surgery center and leading edge laser technology.

As Dr. Howell explains, “When time came for me to have my cataract surgery, I decided no one else was going to do the surgery with the best IOL available, except for my friend and colleague, and the best eye surgeon, Dr. Whitman, even though I live 350 miles from Dallas.”

Today, Dr. Howell’s Vision Is Better Than His Pre-Cataract Days

Following cataract surgery and a PRK procedure to address slight myopia in one eye, “I was eventually able to become glasses and contacts free most of the time. At my last follow up, the vision in my left eye was 20/15 with no correction. I can read newspapers and magazines and see the computer screen with no correction, though I will put on a pair of readers if I’m going to read a novel,” Dr. Howell says.

Today, Dr. Howell is enjoying golf and retirement. He’s also glad he struck up a conversation with his “young mentor” about accommodative lenses those years back in Atlanta.

According to Dr. Howell, “That surgery was just about the best thing that ever happened to me, and I would recommend Dr. Whitman to anyone. When you go to Jeff’s place, you don’t need to go any place else.”

To find out if you’re a good candidate for high-technology intraocular lenses or to weigh your laser cataract surgery options, contact us. You can schedule a cataract surgery consultation with Dr. Whitman at our Dallas headquarters by calling (214) 225-2577 or request an appointment via our handy online form.


Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., is a nationally renowned eye surgeon, board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has been the President and Chief Surgeon of Key-Whitman Eye Centers in Dallas since 1996 and is currently President of the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society. Dr. Whitman is a frequent participant in clinical trials and is known as a respected researcher, innovator and leader in refractive cataract surgery, LASIK eye surgery and for his extensive experience implanting high-technology lenses. He is frequently called upon to serve on the boards of local and national medical associations and organizations. Dr. Whitman and his wife reside in Dallas and enjoy fitness, playing tennis, snow skiing and traveling.