Eye surgery

posted in: Life and things | 2

It’s a little over a week now since I had my cataract operations – left eye on Wednesday, right eye on Thursday. It has been an interesting experience. Cataract surgery is commonplace these days (in first world countries, anyway). The optometrist explained that pretty much everybody develops cataracts as they age, yet another proof that we’re all living well past our use-by dates. That said, it’s still an operation, to a rather sensitive part of the human body, so although I wasn’t anxious I might have been… just a teensy bit nervous

Staff at a table outside the hospital’s front door administered a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) which had to come back negative before I was allowed in. I went through the inevitable admin, then had a series of eye drops put into the eye in question, something like 6 or 7. The first numbed the eye and I know several helped to dilate the pupil. Then it was in to theatre. I was given a sedative, not a full anaesthetic and it was all over in a few minutes. I think. I don’t remember much about the operation but I was off home about a half hour later, complete with protective shield over the eye.

Back home, not allowed to wear glasses, I could barely read, which stood to reason. My right eye was worse than my left, and that was like looking through frosted glass. My brand new left eye helped but it couldn’t quite do the job. But colours were different. If I closed my left eye the world had a yellowish tinge. Right eye closed, colours were brighter than I could even remember, especially blues and purples.

Thursday was much the same – RAT, admin, eye drops. There was a bit of excitement when the light blew in the microscope the surgeon was using. I was aware of what he said. He told me to meditate while they got it fixed, but that if they couldn’t replace the globe, he would have to move to plan B. I did wonder what Plan B would be but fortunately it wasn’t required. I don’t know if he’d removed the old lens at that point.

I’ve had to wear transparent plastic covers (as shown in photos) over my eyes while I sleep for a week, so I don’t rub my eyes. In the hospital they stuck them on with surgical tape but I keep them in place with a sleep mask – the kind they give you on aeroplanes. And I put in eye drops four times a day.

Now it’s just a matter of training my brain to see with the lenses in my eyes. I have no problem reading the screen or writing or anything close by. I’m finding middle distance and long distance a little more challenging. It’s as though objects are outlined. And night vision (!) – I won’t be driving at night any time soon. We had to go out the other evening and I wish I could have photographed what I saw. Streetlights and car lights were beautiful. Imagine concentric rings around a light with straight rays radiating outwards through those rings. I was warned about that effect. Apparently it wanes over time as the brain learns to recognize what’s really there. I think I’ll kind of miss it 😊

The best things about the op? I can see clearly now… pretty well, anyway. No glasses to fog up when I’m cooking or wearing a surgical mask, no need to constantly clean glasses, no chance of forgetting where I left my glasses. I can find things in the shower and other places where I wouldn’t wear my glasses.

The worst? I don’t wear glasses anymore so the wrinkles and bags around my eyes are there for all to see. Including me when I look in a mirror.

Moving on to things of greater import to the country – the Federal Election is happening today. I’m hoping for another miracle such as we had in 2019 when everyone except the Quiet Australians was sure that the Labor party would win in a landslide. (They didn’t.) Many people won’t agree with me – but that’s the great thing about democracy.

Next week will be interesting. If it’s a Labor/Greens/Teal coalition, I think we’ll be living in interesting times*. If the LNP gets back I’ll be heaving a huge sigh of relief.

 * “May you live in interesting times” is an English expression that is claimed to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse.

2 Responses

  1. Barrie Lloyd

    I have recently noticed a substantial deterioration in my eyesight. My optician advised me to consult an eye doctor, as he thought it likely that I had cataracts. I read up on the different kinds of lenses you can get and spoke to various friends who have already had the experience. Everybody I’ve spoken to was positive about the result, but I’m still not happy. What concerns me is that, as far as I am aware, you can no longer focus. One friend told me that they got round this by being long sighted on one eye and short sighted in the other. I understand that another possibility is to have bifocal lenses. I would be interested to hear your experience after you have got used to your lenses. I’m not rushing, as my eyesight is adequate at present and my GP tells me that deterioration can take months or years.

  2. Laurie A. Green

    Glad you got through surgery in good shape, even with the blown microscope light! :O Thanks for your educational post. As I mentioned before, I’ll be facing this in the next 6 months to a year on at least one eye, so this info was pretty reassuring.

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