Patient Stories – Hampton Roads Eye Associates

Take some time to read our patient stories. If you have your own special story that you would like to share, please fill out the form below.

Tricia Gentry:

Tricia Gentry was born in South Carolina, but has spent most of her life in Richmond. Tricia moved to the Hampton Roads area after marrying the love her life. Although Tricia has been wearing glasses since she was five years old, she never thought there were greater concerns regarding her eyesight. It wasn’t until one evening when accidently hurting one of her eyes that she called HREA for an emergency appointment. Thankfully, Tricia discovered that she did not damage her eye as she thought. However, to Tricia’s surprise, Dr. Kitay did inform her at that appointment that she had cataracts!

Cataract Surgery

After two years of her cataracts growing worse it was finally time for surgery. Tricia decided to have surgery on one of her eyes. She could not believe how grand the difference was between her two eyes. As Tricia stated, “You do not realize how much they affect your daily life until they are gone.”

Tricia had an eye opening moment when she sat in her living room looking into the kitchen while testing out her new eyesight. She realized that the new cabinets she picked out for her kitchen were a different color than she thought she had purchased. She realized that her cataracts made her vision have a yellow film. “Now everything seems much brighter!” Tricia explained with delight.

Prior to her surgery, Tricia’s eyesight started to negatively affect her life. Not only was her work affected by her cataracts, but driving at night became difficult and felt dangerous. Tricia’s surgery was a success and now she has 20/20 vision in the eye from which the cataract was removed. “I almost couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.” Tricia stated. Now, with the successful cataract surgery performed by Dr. Kitay, Tricia doesn’t even need to wear glasses! For someone who has worn glasses her entire life, this feels like a huge victory!

New Outlook on Life

Tricia shared with us that this surgery has changed her entire attitude. Her way of living is different, especially this summer. She has loved the convenience of not having to wear a pair of hot glasses on her nose while at the beach or enjoying the outdoors. The benefits are endless! Tricia was so excited about her new eye sight that she even purchased 4 new pairs of sunglasses to celebrate!

Tricia loved her experience at HREA and with Dr. Kitay. She felt comforted by his clear explanations and willingness to answer all her questions. “His staff is unbelievable! Kaye Ward was incredible as well. She is extremely good at what she does. Their professionalism is unsurpassed. They know what they are doing, they double check, and they inspire confidence in what they are doing.”


DSC_3485Neurofibromatosis. This long, scary word has an equally long list of complications that come with the name. NF, for short, is genetic disorder of the nervous system, which causes tumors to grow on a nerve anywhere in the body, at any time.

Mia Rashkind was just 8 months old when she was diagnosed with the incurable disorder, Neurofibromatosis Type 1. At the same appointment, her father, Danny, was also diagnosed with the same disorder.  Mia is a beautiful, vibrant, happy little girl. She has always been very brave about fighting her NF.

NF can affects people differently and can be  non-bothersome, some people go undiagnosed for years or for their entire life, others can be diagnosed as an infant and can develop NF issues very early in life.

When Mia was about two years old, her left eye started crossing inward, it was decided that Mia should have her yearly MRI a little early, just to be safe. The very next day they returned to the neurologist to learn that Mia has two brain tumors, optic gliomas, one on each optic nerve. These tumors occur in less than 5% of NF kids, but usually are only present on one optic nerve. Since Mia has two and due to the fact that they were not present nine months prior to her latest MRI, her neurologist wanted to treat the tumors aggressively. Mia had surgery on September 15th, 2008 to have a port implanted in her chest.DSC_3506

Shortly after, Mia began chemo treatment. It was no easy battle, and Mia had to overcome several obstacles before finding a chemo treatment that worked for her. “Watching Mia go through chemo was the toughest thing I’ve ever gone through, but she never missed a beat,” explained her father.  Mia was allergic to the first chemo drug, and had to start over her treatment with new drug. During this second round, they found out that the drug was not work for her, and her tumors had actually grown. Fortunately, a third mixture of drugs worked and Mia’s MRIs began showing stability and no tumor growth.

On November 23, 2010 Mia had her last dose of chemo. Mia has been through a lot  with two brain tumors, two years of constant chemo, countless MRI’s, blood work, tests, and visits to numerous doctors. Through it all she has maintained a beautifully positive and radiant attitude, and a love for life. Mia enjoys reading, singing and playing outside. “She’s never let anything slow her down,” her father proudly explains.

Although this disease turned their world upside down, Mia has never let it get her down. Her and her father work hard to raise awareness of the disease and raise money to find a cure.

Neurofibromatosis Child VA Dr

Dr. Chamblee plays an important role in Mia’s healthcare, by providing regular eye exams, every three months, to ensure there is no loss of vision. Mia’s father is thankful for friendly and professional doctor, who works so beautifully with children. “We love it at Hampton Roads Eye Associates, Dr. Chamblee is great, and we are very pleased with everything they have done for Mia.”

To learn more about Mia and how you can help raise awareness & funds for Neurofibromatosis, please visit their Facebook page.



James Peed has been enjoying the freedom of life without glasses or contacts, thanks to cataracts surgery. Two years ago, James decided to undergo the procedure to correct his worsening vision problems.

James spent 30 years working in Washington, DC for the treasury department as a graphic artist for the United States Mint, where they made coins.

Several members of James’s family have had cataract surgery with Dr. Tanner and on their recommendation he scheduled an appointment with Dr. Tanner. James had been wearing glasses for over 50 years, but his vision reached a point where even with glasses, he couldn’t see clearly. “I noticed problems particular when I was driving, especially at night – it got to the point where I had to put yellow lenses over my glasses because the lights were so bad, “ James explained.

During his appointment with Dr. Tanner, James was informed that his cataracts were large enough go ahead with the surgery whenever he was ready. James decided not to wait any longer and scheduled his cataracts surgery.

“I was looking forward to working with Dr. Tanner because my family members were so happy with Dr. Tanner. Once I met him myself, I knew he was a great person and someone whom I can trust.”

James happily explains, “Having worn glasses for over 50 years, and not having to for the last 2 years– it’s just been a super great feeling!”

James is now retired living on the northern neck of the Potomac near the Chesapeake Bay. He can now paint portraits and work on the computer freely without being held back by the trifocals he used to wear. “Now I don’t have to use any glasses or lenses, it’s total freedom!”

Even though his vision problems have been corrected, James still visits Dr. Tanner every six months to ensure that his vision and eye health are the best they can be. Preventive measures, including routine eye exams, are essential for healthy eyes and vision!



If an eyeball acts as your body’s own personal camera, then a cataract is a pesky smudge stuck on the lens. A cataract is actually a cloudiness that grows within the lens of the eye, preventing light from passing to the retina. This can blur your vision, similar to looking out of a foggy window.

Fortunately, our doctors have the skill and experience to correct this problem with cataract surgery.  Dr. Tanner’s patient, Linda Walker, recently had the procedure and is now experiencing improved vision.  Linda had a very pleasant experience with the procedure. “Dr. Tanner was just absolutely wonderful,” Linda explains, “When he entered the room he displayed very soothing bedside manner and even made little jokes. His jovial mood shows that he’s extremely nice and easy to talk to.”

Cataract surgery is a great solution for many patients experiencing loss of vision, which interferes with how they enjoy and engage in everyday activities like reading or driving. Over 95 percent of the more than 3 million cataract surgeries performed in the U.S. each year result in improved vision without complications. In addition, IOLs are made of durable material and are designed to last for a lifetime.

“I was surprised as to how simple, easy and quick the surgery was,” explains Linda, “I remember that one minute I was talking to him before the surgery, and the next thing I know, they’re getting me ready to go.” As a patient at Hampton Roads Eye Associates, you can be assured that our doctors and staff will have you fully prepared before the surgery. We will communicate with you each step of the surgery.

“I’m looking forward to throwing my glasses away. They’re useless to me now. Today, I can read at 20/20 vision,” says Linda with a smile.

Our eyes are one of the most important things we have and it’s up to us to protect them by paying attention to our sight and of course visiting our doctor for yearly eye exams.

Your eyes are clearly nothing to fool around with. Proper eye care is essential to staying healthy and leading active lives. We recommend you visit your doctor every year, especially if you are experiencing blurry or diminishing vision. We look forward to caring for your eyes.


As a motorcycle and hunting enthusiast, Robbert Hydrick couldn’t afford to have poor vision. Robert had cataracts in both of his eyes, which were causing his vision to be blurry, even while wearing glasses. A cataract affects the lens of the eye – as the eyes age, dead cells accumulate in the lens capsule, causing the lens to gradually become cloudy. Light that would normally be focused by the lens is scattered around because of the cloudiness, so vision is no longer clear and sharp.

If you wonder what it is like to have a cataract, think about looking through a fogged-up, cloudy window. Cataracts make your visual field appear fuzzy or blurry. Not the ideal conditions for someone who needs sharp vision for hunting or riding a motorcycle.

Robert has been visiting Hampton Roads Eye Associates for routine eye exams for several years, but finally decided this was the year to go through with the cataract procedure.  Over the years, Robert’s vision was progressively getting worse.  “Even though I wore glasses, I still had trouble seeing, especially at night,” Robert explained, “After talking with Dr. Tanner about my options, I told him I was ready we scheduled the procedure!”

Dr. Tanner and the team at Hampton Roads Eye Associates were able to successfully get Robert’s vision back on course. “My experience with Dr. Tanner was very very pleasant. I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor. I would strongly recommend Dr. Tanner to any person considering cataract surgery.”

Dr. Tanner was very informative before the surgery, everything I needed to know was thoroughly and clearly explained to me”, says Robert, “ I was prepared and not at all nervous about the procedure.”

Robert is happy to report that he now has 20/20 vision in both eyes. He is grateful to Dr. Tanner and his team for helping him get his vision back.


Neil Hardee is originally from Greenville, North Carolina, but relocated to Smithfield, Virginia where he has been living for 18 years with his wife.  Prior to his retirement, Neil spent 21 years serving in the Navy as a Mechanical Deep Sea Technician.

These days, Neil is enjoying retired life in a small town. One thing that was making simple life in a small town more difficult was the cataracts that were interfering with his vision.

Neil scheduled a visit with Dr. Tanner for an eye exam from new glasses. “During the appointment, Dr. Tanner informed me that I had pretty bad cataracts, and the he would suggest surgery to fix them,” Neil explains, “so that’s what we did on my left and right eye.”

Before the surgery, Neil noticed that his vision was a bit blurry, but “I didn’t know how bad it was until the cataracts were out,” he explains, “the surgery went great, recovery was easy and now I have 20/20 vision.”

Neil was relieved to have a doctor who he could trust and feel comfortable with.  “Dr. Tanner was outstanding, he explained everything. The whole staff was very polite, friendly and helpful.”



This lovely couple insisted on having their surgeries on the same day, back to back. Here is the wife coming out of the OR giving her husband a kiss before he heads into the OR. Their love for each other warmed our hearts!






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