Doctor keeps an eye out - Kaye stays up-to-date on latest in eye care

Apr 17, 2012

Dr. David Kaye has painted masterpieces for his patients at Natural Vision. Just ask one of his patients, Ralph Salas.
 
 “I wore glasses all my life and now I don’t wear them anymore,” Salas said. “It was like the world was painted over again with bright vibrant colors.”
 
Salas, 59, made an appointment with Kaye two years ago during his daughter’s checkup that changed his life. “I had gone to various clinics and hospitals and nobody knew why my vision was getting worse,” Salas said. “I mentioned having vision problems and Dr. Kaye told me to make an appointment with him.”
 
After examining Salas, Kaye discovered he had retinal disease in addition to cataracts. Kaye cleared the cataracts with a newer procedure called astigmatic intraocular lenses.
 
Salas said he saw floaters a few months ago and a second procedure was done to remove the scar tissue in his eye. Salas said he was very comfortable after the surgery. “I never felt any pain during the surgery and I was conscious,” Salas said. “They just numbed the area around my eye and now my sight is crystal clear.”
 
Salas said he’s very grateful for the work Kaye did on his vision and now views doctors differently. “Dr. Kaye was a godsend for me because I could have gone blind,” Salas said. “He’s restored my faith knowing there are doctors out there that really and truly care.”
 
Kaye, who’s originally from South Africa, came to Madera 25 years ago and has enjoyed his patients. “I enjoy the work here tremendously and the people are very interesting,” Kaye said. “Their conditions are very challenging and in general, they’re a happy group of people.”
 
Kaye, who comes from a family of ophthalmologists, said he tries to honor his parents through his work. “I honor my father and my mother because they were my teachers,” Kaye said. “I believe I’m here because God wanted me to be here, so I am happy to be able to help everybody.”
 
Kaye’s son, Michael, said his dad’s personality was a good fit for his line of work. “My dad is a risk taker and he likes to try new things, so the world of medicine has been helpful,” Michael said. “He will try to seek out the latest science and research so that he can provide patients with stuff that is the very latest in medicine.”
 
Dr. Kaye, who specializes in Refractive and Cataract Surgery and Neuro-Opthamology, said it was difficult early on when he introduced Laser Vision Correction to the Valley.
 
“It was very political and people would tell me I was doing surgery that wasn’t proven to work yet,” Kaye said. “It was quite difficult in the early days to convince people that this was the way to go, but when you know something is right, you stay with it.”
 
Kaye made the right decision, as the success rates for the surgery are impressive.
 
“The success rate is very high, as high as 90 percent and even higher sometimes,” Kaye said. “It just depends on if the patient has had an injury to the eye beforehand.”
 
Kaye said the economy has affected his patients’ decision to have the surgery. “Every year, the technology improves and the ability to improve the procedure does, too,” Kaye said. “The number of patients has increased over the years, but with the economic recession, the number of people who can afford it has dropped.”
 
Kaye said one of the big trends in eye care right now is the inexpensive injection of chemicals into the eye that stop diabetes, which affects many of his patients.
 
“It’s a huge problem in the Valley and the instance of diabetes is very high,” Kaye said. “Many of the patients either can’t afford to take care of themselves or they’re not trained to take care of themselves in a situation where they’re very sick.”
 
Kaye said another trend he’s noticed is eyeglasses. “People are buying eyeglasses these days for beauty and to look handsome,” Kaye said. “Many people don’t actually have a need for glasses, but they’ll buy them because it’s part of their dress. And when people do need glasses, they’re very careful now to choose glasses that fit their style.”
 
Michael said he’s proud of the work his dad does. “I think it’s fantastic work because he’s helping people to see,” Michael said. “It’s probably one of the best forms of service a person can do for other human beings, to help them see the world and relieve them of pain.”
 
Michael said as a child, he was used to his dad’s line of work. “There used to be eyeballs in the fridge because before there was an Eye Bank in Fresno, when they would need to get a donor’s cornea, they would fly in a box with dry ice that contained eyes and my dad would put them in the fridge,” Michael said. “It was something I just knew growing up.”
 
Michael said his dad’s sense of humor is what keeps his patients coming back. “Your relationship with your physician is really important because you’re trusting this person and without trust, what’s left?” Michael said. “If you feel good about a person, then you can trust them to take care of you.”
 
 
Doctor keeps an eye out
Kaye stays up-to-date on latest in eye care
 
By Megan Lerma
The Madera Tribune