Sunday, August 7, 2022

A much clearer view.


Lynne Cantwell 2022
So the cataract surgery -- for both eyes -- is in the rear-view mirror. And as you can see from the photo above, which approximates the post-surgery view from my right eye, it went pretty darned fabulously well.

I had a fair amount of anxiety about the procedure ahead of time, given that somebody was going to be, y'know, cutting open my eye. But when I asked friends who'd been through it what to expect, they mostly just said, "You'll love it!" Which didn't really answer my questions. So I thought I'd write a post about my experience while it's all still fresh in my mind, so that I can refer other folks to it later.

I had my surgeries pretty close together -- July 20th for the right (worst) eye and July 25th for the left eye. Usually the procedures are scheduled at least two weeks apart, but my original surgeon ended up needing surgery and so I was rescheduled with a different surgeon whose calendar then had to be worked around. The shorter time frame between eyes didn't seem to make a difference.

The information sheet I received before the first surgery said, in part, "You will be able to see out of the operative eye during the first 1-2 weeks of healing, but your vision may be blurred throughout this period of adjustment." I'll be able to "see", huh? What, specifically, does that mean? Well, here's what it meant for me: 

At the post-op appointment the day after the first surgery, I had 20/50 vision in my right eye. Everything was brighter; I felt a little like I was in one of those old laundry soap ads where your whites are whiter and your colors are brighter. Best of all, the cataract that had been clouding my vision was gone, so I could see things at a distance with startling clarity. And I had my depth perception back, which was really nice.

They took the right lens out of my old glasses, so I kept wearing them -- and I kept relying on the reading-glasses part of my bifocal lens for close-up vision. Here's a thing that is probably obvious to opthalmologists but wasn't to me: our brains are remarkably adept at relying on one eye when the vision in the other eye goes screwy. I had basically been relying on my left eye for months, and that continued to be the case after the first surgery.

Then I had the second surgery, which also went well. At the post-op appointment on the day after the second surgery, I had 20/40 vision in the left eye and almost 20/15 vision in the right eye. I was cleared to drive -- yay! 

Here is the annoying part, though: I am constantly switching glasses back and forth. I bought a couple of pairs of reading glasses before the second surgery, and I find myself wearing them around the house, so my vision is still blurry a lot of the time -- it's just that now it's my fault. Also, I really miss my photogrey (a.k.a. Transition) lenses, which I've worn for the past several decades. I'm required to wear sunglasses outside post-surgery for about four weeks total, so I still need glasses to drive -- it's just that they're sunglasses. Plus any time I need to see a price tag or a menu, I need to swap the sunglasses for reading glasses, or put the sunglasses over the reading glasses, and keep track of them all, and well. It's annoying, that's all. 

The final thing the info sheet warned about: "After your eye heals, you may need to wear glasses for your best vision." The vast majority of folks will need reading glasses -- your original lenses probably didn't focus close-up as well as they did when you were a kid, but the new equipment doesn't change focus at all. And for those of us with astigmatism, the new lenses may not compensate for it. Replacement lenses for astigmatism do exist, but my insurance wouldn't pay for them. So for my best vision, I will need to wear glasses.

But that's actually good news! Because once I have my final appointment in a couple of weeks, I can get a new pair of bifocals with photogrey lenses. I'll be able to ditch the sunglasses and reading glasses, and go back to having one pair of glasses that rules them all. 

And unless something goes really screwy with my vision later on, I'll never need a different prescription for glasses again. Now that's something to look forward to.

These moments of bloggy clarity have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed and boosted!


Malcolm R. Campbell said...

My surgeries went well, too, a few years ago and my vision is still good.

Lynne Cantwell said...

Good to hear, Malcolm!

At this point I'm jonesing for my permanent prescription. I'm occasionally getting a headache from eye strain due to the astigmatism not being corrected. Looking forward to having that go away.