November 17th, 2017

Through a lens, murkily

You may have noticed that posting is a bit light today. That’s because I spent a while at the eye doctor’s, learning what I already knew—that my cataracts (particularly in my left eye) are progressing nicely—if you like cataracts, which I don’t. But I don’t need to have surgery yet.

Maybe next year.

I’ve never been keen on going to the doctor, any doctor. I find as I get older, the anxiety about possible bad news becomes more justified, at least in the statistical (hopefully not the personal) sense. Cataracts? A mere nothing, very fixable. Everybody’s got em, if they live long enough. Be grateful I live now and not back then, when cataracts paved the way to almost certain blindness.

And I am grateful, although I know that any eye surgery is not “nothing,” and that my own mother had problems after her cataract surgery. I also have had my own history of a weird complication after a very minor eye surgery for narrow angles.

Nevertheless, it went well today, and for that I’m happy.

27 Responses to “Through a lens, murkily”

  1. expat Says:

    I took my husband to the hospital today for a pre-cataract exam, and his operation will take place after Christmas. He had a dtached retina problem with the other eye about 2 years ago, and that eye is doing well. But the whole thing makes him nervous.

    I am like you. I don’t visit doctors unless I have to.

  2. steve walsh Says:

    Anything related to eyes and sight are, to me, more stressful so I don’t blame you for being anxious and distracted.

  3. Mike K Says:

    I first realized I had cataracts when I was examining military recruits and I said to myself, “Why do these young kids have hazy lenses ?” Then I realized it was me who had the hazy lenses.

    Two cataract surgeries later, I see fine but I would not pay for the expensive lenses that adjust to distance so I wear reading glasses. Too many complex things break down.

  4. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    I’m in the same boat, Neo. The doctor tells me my cataracts are “ripening” nicely, but it’s a little too early to “harvest” them. The diminution of visual acuity is a bit frustrating; I notice it most when trying to read road signs out at the horizon while driving the Interstate. But we should be grateful, not only for the improved lenses but for the advances in surgery. Within our lifetime a cataract operation involved hospital stays and lying with head immobilized. Now we seem to be moving closer to “drive thru” eye surgery.

  5. Ira Says:

    I had my cataract-clouded original equipment lenses replaced two years ago. Like Mike, I eschewed the multi-focal and extended depth of field lenses, and use reading glasses for anything I want to see sharply that is within 12 feet of me. In the sun, I wear bifocal sunglasses (i.e., non-prescription upper portion, reading glasses magnification for the lower portion). Overall, vision is very good, AND multiple times better post-replacement than it was the day before replacement.

    I had put off the surgery for as long as possible because who knows what real advancements might be around the corner. So, while I’m very disappointed that I had to have the surgery, I’m glad the option was there when I could no longer comfortably get through the day.

  6. Stu Says:

    I found the process to be no big deal. The morning of my second surgery had my doctor scheduled for 13 procedures before noon. The greatest inconvenience was the eye drop regimen before and after the procedure.

  7. Bumsrush Says:

    Just be aware that replacements come in good, better, and best. Don’t necessarily settle for the cheapest.

  8. Donna B. Says:

    I had both eyes “fixed” about 6 months ago and I’m very happy with the results. I still reach for my glasses in the morning while half groggy. And I still think I look a little funny without glasses.

    I did opt for the astigmatism and up close lenses. However, I carry reading glasses with me to use in low light situations, such as restaurants. A flashlight would work as well.

    The up close adjustment took a while, but it’s been worth it for me. My reasoning for paying the extra for that was that I hope to have my eyes cut on only once, so get all I can at that time.

    Agreed that the eye drop regimen is a PITA, but I was as compliant as I could be, setting alarms and checking off the doses when done.

    I realize that I’m fortunate to not have other eye/vision problems but I’m thrilled with the results. My distance vision is 20/15 now — I’m seeing things like I’ve never seen them before as I started wearing glasses when I was 5.

  9. parker Says:

    Left knee replacement in Feburuary, been putting it off ffor 3 years, will be glad to get through PT and gardening without pain come April. My 20/10 eyesight is now 20/20. Poor, poor, pithy me. 😉 We age, we ache, and we die. What happens between cradle and grave is the marrow. Thankful for the woman who has stood by and loved me. Thankful children and grandchildren, want to hold a great grandchild someday, askibg but not demanding.

  10. parker Says:

    Oops, pitiful…

  11. Harry the Extremist Says:

    Im glad all went well Neo. Wishes and good thoughts for the ocular long-term.

  12. om Says:

    Neo:

    Went from 20:200 (I wore some pretty thick glasses) to 20:20 without glasses. Lost the up close vision but with progressive glasses I almost used to the change; looking under the bottom of the glasses for up close work doesn’t work any more. It is really nice to wake up, open the eyes and see that things have edges without having glasses on.

    I had the option to have a CD made of the surgery, nope, I wasn’t that curious. Had stents put in for my glaucoma but don’t know yet if they have helped.

    Overall I’d say the surgery procedures were more pleasant than most trips to the dentist.

  13. Oldflyer Says:

    I could hardly wait for my Ophthalmologist to decide to go ahead, as my vision became more and more blurred. One of the great achievements in modern medicine is the the ability to restore vision with such a routine procedure.

    I am sure it will be a relief when it is done. Best wishes. When the time comes, hope it is as beneficial as it was for me.

    My wonderful Dr went to Haiti every year to restore sight to those who otherwise had no hope.

  14. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Neo, Good to hear good news.

  15. PunchCardProcessing Says:

    As I was considering my own situation with regards to cataracts, I did some net searching. One vid I came across was of a cataract operation. It’s 14:10 mins. in length. I found it fascinating. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0faextOYin4

  16. Tuvea Says:

    Had both my eyes done a couple of years apart. As others have noted above the only PITA were the eye drops.

    It has made a big difference. I only need reading glasses. Night driving easier with less glare.

    Good luck to you neo.

  17. AesopFan Says:

    Two new eyes a couple of years ago (about a year apart), one with long-distance lens and one with near.
    Works great, and I don’t miss my glasses at all after 50+ years wearing them.
    And the operation was really kind of psychedelic (close as I’ll ever come anyway) because you have to be awake in order to move your eyeball around on command, and all my floaters were neon sparklies.
    The doctor finally had to tell me to quit talking about them because it made my eyes wobble too much.

  18. om Says:

    AesopFan:

    My cataract surgery was only two months ago and appears to have been quite different. The anesthesia completely closed down movement of the eye and I saw nothing beyond a the white drape that covered the eye not being treated. There were no commands from the surgeon for me to do anything. But hey it worked for both of us. More than one way to fix a cataract it appears.

  19. Yancey Ward Says:

    Both of my elderly parents had the surgery done in both eyes about a year apart in 2014 and 2015. In and out for an eye in less than 90 minutes. After about two weeks, the eye drop routine is finished and both see much better they say.

  20. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    I am pleased you are doing well. HUZZAH!

  21. Frog Says:

    The most amusing comment is, “I am like you. I don’t visit doctors unless I have to.”
    A visit? A social call? A kaffeeklatch?
    Unless you have to?
    That is a good thing, but I have never heard of anyone who as a patient “visits” doctors without a perceived need for medical help.

  22. rigeldog Says:

    I am 60 and I just had cataract surgery over the summer for both eyes. People can develop cataracts early and I had that type. There was an option to include lasers in the surgery, which I paid for out of pocket, but it was worth it. The laser allowed for the most perfect measurement of correction and also breaks up the cataract for quicker removal. It’s just a wonderful medical advance and I’m so grateful that we have such options. My vision is so much brighter, you don’t even realize how dim and yellow-ey your vision is until it’s gone. I am also very glad that I opted for slightly different corrections to each eye. Left eye doesn’t see as well for distance, but it allows me to read up close with no glasses. Right eye is not quite 20 20 for distance either, but it works well with the left eye’s under-correction. Bottom line: I wear my distance glasses on my head, and I pull them down to drive and to see TV better, etc. I need no glasses at all for middle distance or reading; I love this set-up!

  23. Stan on the Brazos Says:

    Had cataract surgey in April, both eyes,it is great. No glasses now and no contacts. Invested in the astigmatism corrected lens, well worth. Every thing is bright and clear, have to wear sunglasses outside now. Had detached retina surgery in London a long time ago-new years day 1970. Detached it playing basketball in Libya. (I’m an American but have a degree in petroleum engineering, the oil and gas industry was/is a great place to work.)

  24. Susanamantha Says:

    I am facing inevitable cataract surgery in the next year or two. I have little hope for much improvement, however. My eyes are filled with floaters to the extent that reading from books is nearly impossible. It’s too tiring to keep one eye closed. It’s a little easier with my Kindle, but I wind up getting to fatigued to read more that 10-15 pages at a time. That’s no way to read a novel for me. I can still drive during the day. Distance vision is less of a problem. Oh well. I shall be grateful for whatever vision I have.

  25. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I’ve had a laser iridotomy, too. It freaked me out quite badly to have laser beams shot into my eyes while I sat there pretending that everything was perfectly okay. I shudder to ask what the “weird complication” was. But of course it’s better than narrow-angle glaucoma. I had one episode, though I’d never heard of narrow angles at the time and thought it was just a strange one-sided very bad headache right behind my eye. I was lucky that it resolved itself with no damage to my optic nerve, and I don’t want to have another.

    The stories here of wonderful vision without glasses after cataract correction are almost enough to make me wish that mine would hurry up and get worse.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    Mrs Whatsit:

    The complication I have is the last of the risks/complications on the list here. And here’s a longer discussion of the phenomenon.

    Before my eye surgery, I was told it was vanishingly rare for it to happen. But it happened to me. I was told I absolutely needed the surgery because of the narrowness of my angles, although I’d never had an attack. Mine had progressed from grade 3 to grade 1 (1 is one of the more severe types). The grades are explained here. From that same article, here’s a quote:

    An adverse event glaucoma specialists greatly fear after prophylactic laser iridotomy is the ghost or double image resulting from the lid not fully covering the iridotomy hole.

  27. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Well, that sounds very frustrating indeed, Neo. I hope the effect — or at least your ability to tolerate it — has improved with time. I am apparently one of the patients mentioned in the article who have repeated attacks that resolve themselves. The ophthalmologist was able to see evidence that it had happened to me at least once before. I was in her office not because I realized that, but because an optometrist had warned me that I was at risk. I didn’t realize what the previous “headache” had actually been until the ophthalmologist saw the damage and asked about the symptoms.

    It was quite frightening to realize that something potentially so catastrophic had happened to me and that I had not recognized the risk and had just tried to tough it out without seeking help. On reflection afterwards, I realized that it probably happened twice – both times, when I was far from home and in situations where emergency medical help would have been hard to find. I was very lucky.

    It’s absolutely true that this is not something you want to experience if it can be avoided. But how awful for you to have the treatment CAUSE a new vision problem when you had been asymptomatic before.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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