Sam Narouz sees everything more clearly these days. The faces of his two children are clearer. He even jokes with his wife that he can see all the dust in their house now. After years of wearing progressively stronger glasses and his eyesight deteriorating to the point where he was legally blind, Narouz, 57, of South Setauket now reads and drives without any eyewear.

"I feel like I am a newborn child," said Narouz, who works for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. "I want to enjoy my life. I want to enjoy people. I was blind and now I see!"

Narouz underwent bilateral cataract surgery and lens implants by Vincent Basilice, MD, of The Opthalmic Center (TOC Eye) of East Setauket. The two separate procedures were performed at Mather Hospital a week apart in January and February 2015.

"To be able to get rid of his cataracts and also get rid of his glasses as part of a standard surgery, Sam couldn’t be happier. When you’re dealing with a very mature lens there are all kinds of pitfalls, so I’m very happy it worked out the way it did," said Basilice.

Narouz said he had been wearing glasses since he was about 12 years old in his native Egypt, but for the last seven to eight years his vision had become noticeably worse. "I went to a couple of doctors and they said my eyes were very bad but they couldn’t do anything," he said. "They said you have to wear glasses. It became worse and worse. I couldn’t see to drive at night or in the rain or snow. My job requires me to do a lot of driving, so I spent a lot of time feeling anxious and frustrated."

He asked his daughter to research local eye specialists with good ratings that accepted his insurance, and she recommended TOC Eye.

"Dr. Basilice told me that I actually was legally blind and I felt my heart sink. He told me that I had very progressed cataracts in both eyes and was astonished that no one had ever noticed them. He told me he could remove them and that he was fairly certain I would be able to see without glasses. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing."

According to Basilice, a cataract is a naturally occurring, progressive clouding of the lens inside the eye that can cause patients extreme difficulty with night driving, especially in the rain, and can severely reduce a person’s quality of vision for both distance and reading. The cloudy lens in the eye doesn’t allow light to focus appropriately in the back of the eye.

"Contrary to some beliefs, a cataract is not a film or covering on the outside of the eye," said Basilice. "It is also not remedied by taking pills, drops, or having laser treatment.  A cataract must be surgically removed from the inside of the eye, and replaced with a lens implant called an Intra-Ocular Lens or IOL.

When an IOL is placed into the eye, sometimes the need for certain glasses can be eliminated."

During surgery, the cataract is broken up via ultrasound and removed from the eye, he said.  The IOL is then placed into the eye in the same place where the old cataract was located.  Each IOL is calculated specifically for the individual patient. The implant that is placed in the eye can often eliminate nearsightedness or farsightedness, as well as astigmatism.

"The surgery went well and in a few days I could see. Really see!  I could see my children’s faces clearer. To me, this was nothing short of a miracle," said Narouz.

Pictured: Sam Narouz with his old glasses; Vincent Basilice, MD, and Narouz following the surger