Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Eyes Have It

A week and a half ago, I had cataract/lens implant surgery on my left eye. Usually cataracts start to develop in your fifties, but don't get large enough to cause problems until your sixties or seventies. However, the retinal surgery I had 2 1/2 years ago (a vitrectomy) has a known side effect of accelerating the development of cataracts. I didn't put two and two together as I started having blurry vision in that eye, and double vision during the winter, but the optometrist took one look in it in the spring and referred me to a opthamologist specializing in cataracts. That entailed a couple of visits (one with and one without contacts) to take every possible measurement of my eye, the curvature, the length inside the eyeball, etc. In addition to the cataract, I had also had the retinal tears and repair, and they kept saying things like extreme myopia and very long eyeball (which is the physical sign of extreme myopia).

All the testing is to determine the lens they put in to replace the one they take out with the cataract. Just like a contact lens, it can correct most vision problems, although not all of them together. They can correct for astigmatism, but not combined with the level of near-sightedness I have. And they can do multi-focal, but not extreme close vision combined with general and far vision. The surgery itself is quick and easy. I had eyedrops to put in several times a day for two days prior. They put dilating and numbing drops in at the surgical center, then the anesthesiologist put in an intravenous sedative. I was still in street clothes, on a rolling bed. They draped a plastic cloth around the rest of my face. I was only aware of bright lights and the surgeon talking, then it was over and the recovery person was giving my brother instructions for the rest of the day. I had an eye shield over that eye all day and night, except for putting drops in every 3 hours. I slept a lot in between those.

By the next morning's followup, I could already tell how much better my vision was. And now I'm getting more used to it. My distance vision is almost perfect, the combined vision with the other eye is really good (no more double vision!). The close vision is blurry; I don't think it's sharp until beyond arms' length, so I definitely need reading glasses. I'm using some drug store ones right now which help, and I will see the optometrist in a month or so for new prescriptions.

Both reading and quilting had gotten to be a strain but now I feel like doing them again!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I am glad to hear you having a great outcome. My eye doc and I have been discussing this same surgery. He is thinking that by next year the cataract in my right eye will need surgery and I am considering having a corrective lens inserted. Will you need something in the other eye also? My doc suggested reader in one and long distance in the other.