June 28, 2011 - Tampa Woman’s Sight Restored Completely After Violent Car Crash

Local ophthalmologist Dr. T. Hunter Newsom uses modern surgical techniques and innovative expertise to treat totally blind patient Sara Diaz

Tampa, Fl – Told she’d likely never see her husband’s face again, Tampa resident Sara Diaz fell into a dark depression after the violent car crash that stole her eyesight.  Thanks to an innovative expert ophthalmologist, along with advanced surgical techniques and instruments, Sara Diaz’s sight is completely restored and even better than before the accident. Sara is a patient of Newsom Eye & Laser Center of Carrollwood Village.

Newsom Eye 2011Dr. T. Hunter Newsom, an ophthalmologist specializing in cataract and LASIK surgery recalls, “When Sara came to me, she was completely blind with a totally broken spirit.  She went from enjoying life to struggling to simply navigate through the hallways of her home without help.”  Sara was completely blind in both eyes after sustaining serious airbag-related eye injuries in a July 2010 auto accident.

“As my husband Ismael drove our car through an intersection, I reached for my purse.  It was at that moment, a driver broadsided us after running a stop sign,” Sara describes.  “The next thing I remember, blood poured from both of my eyes.”  Her airbag deployed at close range to her face, hitting her with such traumatic force, she suffered extensive injuries like blood vessel hemorrhaging, an inflamed iris, and blunt-force cataracts.  Within a matter of weeks, she was totally blind and being told she’d likely never see again.

Then she met Dr. Newsom.  He describes her injuries using a trampoline analogy.  “The crystalline lens inside of our eyes is suspended in place by fibrous strands called zonules.   These strands are like springs suspending a trampoline mat.  Imagine what a trampoline would look like if an Elephant stepped onto it – likely the springs would stretch well beyond their normal function and once that elephant stepped off of the trampoline, they would likely be tattered and stretched beyond repair and no longer able to hold the mat in place.  This is essentially the effect that the blunt-force of the airbag impact had on Sara’s eyes.  Her crystalline lenses, which are responsible for providing focus and clarity of sight, were no longer held tightly in place by the tattered and torn zonules, and the lens had turned completely white.”  Newsom continues, “Her lens was completely opaque, like that of a car’s windshield fogged over.  The combination of these two factors completely impaired her ability to see.”

Dr. Newsom was on a mission to meet two goals: 1. Restore her ability to focus, and, 2. Return clarity to her vision lost by the formation of cataracts associated trauma.  “Blunt-force cataracts differ from traditional, age-related cataracts, in that they occur unnaturally and suddenly as the result of intense trauma experienced within the eye,” adds Dr. Newsom.

Dr. Newsom used an advanced form of cataract surgery involving the removal of her damaged natural lenses and the insertion of artificial lens implants.  While Dr. Newsom has performed tens of thousands of cataract surgeries in even the most challenging patients, Diaz’s situation was different given the extent of the injuries to her internal eye.  “I had to be sure that her eyes would even support the new lens implants,” he says.  

Sara recounts her visit with Dr. Newsom, “I saw other doctors, but was told there was little that could be done for me and so, I had little hope for my future.  Dr. Newsom lifted my spirit.  His confidence gave me renewed hope.” 

Over two-weeks, Dr. Newsom performed several procedures on Sara utilizing a combination of advanced, modern, surgical techniques and specialized instrumentation.  It was through this work that Newsom stabilized her eyes, removed her cataracts and safely replaced her damaged lenses with artificial lens implants.  The day following the final surgery, Diaz and her husband, Ismael, attended a post-operative appointment with tears of joy-her sight had been restored.   “We literally cured her blindness,” Newsom says proudly.  “When I opened my eyes, I immediately saw the staff from Newsom Eye around me.  I couldn’t believe it!   It was if I was in the dark and they had turned on a light.”  Diaz continues, “Today my sight literally is better than before the accident!” 

“Sara is one of the rare cases of an individual who has completely lost then completely regained their sight,” Newsom says.  “She now lives with an appreciation for her sight and a gratitude that few of us will ever know.  While we appreciate all of our patients, my staff and I take particular pride in Sara Diaz’s outcome and knowing that we have accomplished what would not have been possible even a few short years ago.  It’s cases like this that remind me of why I became a physician.”

Newsom Eye is located at 13904 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, at 3205 Physicians Way in Sebring, and at 1023 US Hwy 27 South in Avon Park.

Media Opportunities: Newsom Eye patient Sara Diaz and Dr. T. Hunter Newsom are available for interview and demonstrations. Please contact Julie Robbins at (813) 448-7717, [email protected] or Olivia Moore at (727) 798-7021, [email protected] or [email protected].

About Newsom Eye:

Established in 2001, Dr. T. Hunter Newsom is the founder and leader of the Newsom Eye ophthalmology practice. Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Newsom brings a wealth of experience and research to Newsom Eye. He is regularly called on to participate in FDA approval research of new and improved technologies. Through this important research, lenses have reached FDA approval status and made available to patients with cataracts. Newsom Eye offers three clinical locations: Sebring, Avon Park and Tampa along with two surgical centers in Sebring and in Tampa. Their mission is to continually provide the utmost in patient care through state-of-the-art technology, continual education, personal relationships, and high levels of customer service. The vision is simple, to restore and enhance vision for patients across the world. For more information, visit www.newsomeye.com.