I can see! I can see! I can see!

New eye with shield
Post-op with my shield

| My eye doctor decided it was time to remove the cataract from my right eye, being more advanced than the one in the left, and Monday morning I reported for surgery.

Now, the mere idea of anyone getting anywhere near my eye with a sharp instrument, especially a knife, scares the bejeesus out of me. But I put on a brave face, and when the eye surgeon came by to say hello while I was being prepped, I jocularly asked him, "Do you have your knives all sharpened up? There's nothing so dangerous as a dull knife." He assured me they were sharp, indeed, and after reporting that examination of the measurements taken of my eye indicated that most of the astigmatism in that eye was in the lens rather than in the cornea, he disappeared and prep continued.

There were a couple of things surprising about this: First off, it seems that the surgery would be conducted while I continued to wear my street clothes. I had been told to wear loose-fitting, light garb that would be easy to take off and put on "because you will have to change into a hospital gown" but they sat me down in an elaborate chair on wheels, covered me with a blanket and proceeded to screw a vise around my head. There was a part that was snugged up against the top of my head, and then arms on the sides were gradually narrowed until my head was completely immobile. But not yet: a wide strip of tape was stretched across my forehead and fastened on either end to the chair. I couldn't have moved if I had wanted to.

An IV was inserted into my arm, and the anesthesiologist said it would be like having a cocktail. Can't I just have the cocktail? Guess not. Various electrodes were attached to my torso under my shirt, and a blood pressure cuff was velcro-ed onto my arm. And with that they wheeled me somewhere (I assume an operating theatre) where the only thing I could see was a contraption hanging from the ceiling with multiple lenses like microscope lenses.

The next thing I remember was someone saying, "OK, you're done. Stand up." (Because, I assume, they needed the chair.)  It had been very fast; no more than 15 minutes had elapsed. When I showed no signs of dizziness I was directed back to the lobby to await my ride home.

I had been told that I would be wearing an eye-patch after the surgery, and I was looking forward to swaggering about saying "Arrr! Hand over your silver, you bilge rat!" and other pirate-y things, but my eye shield was clear and I could see through it! You can't go around saying "Ahoy, mate" when you have the use of both eyes! The point of the shield is to protect against anything getting in your eye or inadvertently touching it before the new lens is healed into place.

I felt fine, and in fact Bob and I went from the surgery center to breakfast. After he dropped me off, I pretty much sat around until evening, at which point I decided I would try to read a bit. And that's when the delight started. My Kindle Fire has black type on a back-lit white screen, but when I looked at the screen with first my new eye and then my other eye, I realized that what I had been calling "white" was really a yellowish gray. With my new eye, it was truly white, almost blue-white! So I amused myself for a bit looking at things first with one eye then the other, astonished at the change in colors. But I really couldn't read — the glasses just wouldn't fit over the shield, and without the glasses, I could not see print legibly with either eye. There has been no pain of any kind, and the eye does not seem overly-sensitive to light.

This morning I went back for my post-op exam. En route, in bright sunlight I was astonished at the differences in color. Simply amazing. When the eye doctor checked my vision in my "new" eye he was surprised at how much better it was and said that as the eye continued to heal the vision would continue to improve. And I was given leave to remove my shield except for when I sleep for the next five nights. They just don't want you rubbing your eye or hitting it with the covers. The only drawback is that I'm not allowed to get water anywhere near that eye for the next week, and I would like nothing more than to wash away some of the gunk around the eye.

Call me happy. I can't wait to get the other one done!

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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