Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh, the strides of Medical Science ....

I announced a few days ago that I was scheduled for cataract surgery. I want to thank everyone for all the comments and e-mails wishing me a speedy recovery.

The surgery went well but not without a few surprises. Currently, my regular glasses are useless and remembering to use the required eye drops every two hours has been a problem.  I was not unfamiliar with this procedure since my first husband had this surgery done about fifteen years ago. So, I thought I was well prepared for it.   I failed to take into account how far medical science has come since that time and that some doctors insist on doing things their way regardless of what they were told by the patient.

The first question I was asked was what kind of lens I wanted implanted. I did not expect to have a choice so I was caught off  guard. When I asked for clarification the technician working with me only said.  "Do you want to continue to wear glasses or do you want your prescription made into the transplanted lens."  I have since found out this was not the whole story and I was not given all the facts needed to make an educated decision. All I knew for certain was I did not want to stop wearing glasses and that was the answer I gave the tech.

  I had five reasons for wanting to keep my glasses:
  1.  I have worn glasses for fifty years and feel very uncomfortable (even naked) when I go without them. 
  2.  I have large protruding eyes and was continually being called "Pop-Eye" or "Bug Eyes" when I was young.  Once I got my glasses  that name calling ended because the glasses detracted from the actual look of my eyes. To this day every doctor that sees me wants to test me for thyroid problems because of my eye shape.   
  3.  I have always felt my glasses also minimized the fullness of my very round face.
  4. I like wearing the progressive lenses that change from clear to almost black after only a few minutes in the sun.  I can't stand having to continually switch between indoor and outdoor tints. 
  5. Finally, as silly as it may seem, I feel more secure and confident when wearing my glasses.  In some ways I feel as if I am looking at the world through a tiny window and the world does not notice me watching them because of that window.  
   After getting home and doing some research I learned I actually had three choices:
  1.  I could choose to implant a lens that contains my trifocal prescription so that after the surgery I would no longer need to wear glasses. 
  2. I could choose to have my distant vision corrected and still need cheaters for reading. 
  3.  The other choice would be to have a clear lens with no correction and continue to wear prescription glasses.   
Having to make a quick decision on the spot, without all the options explained correctly, I was concerned I may have made the wrong choice.  The Old Salt was convinced I should contact the doctors office and change my selection so that I would no longer need glasses because that was the choice he would want for himself.  After giving the issue some serious thought I decided to leave things the way they were. 

So you might understand my amazement when I returned to the doctors office yesterday for a post surgical check-up.  For fifty years everything without my glasses has been in a misty fog.  The doctor removed the eye patch and asked me to read the smallest line on his eye chart that I could make out on the mirror it was projected on.  I nailed the last line.  He then added several more lines and when I got to the bottom line I correctly read three of the five letters.   The doctor said " fantastic, one day post op and you got three letters on the 20/20 line."  That is when I learned the doctor had chosen to implant a lens with my distant vision prescription and that after my second eye is corrected I will only need reading glasses.

Currently, things are rather strange. Some things (like watching TV) I can do with no glasses, but still need them for the computer or reading.  But, my regular glasses don't help at all and wearing them even drives me a tad crazy.  I have been using a pair of the Old Salt's drugstore cheaters and they seem to do the best job at present.  Currently, I am right where I did not want to be.  Constantly having to but on or take off a pair of glasses depending on what I am doing.

At this point I am leaning toward getting a pair of glasses made I can put on first thing when I awake and not worry about again until I take them off at night.  I am not liking this only needing them part time mess. The cheaters are never handy when you need them and I will not resort to wearing them on a chain around my neck.  No way.  At the moment I want to go punch that doctor and yell "give me my old glasses back".   I guess this is one old lady that does not adapt well to change.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am only half way through the process and I need to have more patience.  When this is all over I'm sure I will adapt to whatever is required to get my normal life back on a clear track.

I can't tolerate long periods on the computer at present so it has taken me over twenty-four hours to finish writing this post.  During that time I went in hunt of a photo of the eye patch I had to wear at first and must continue to use at night for a while.  Not finding what I wanted on line I finally settled for the photo I posted above that the Old Salt took as soon as we got home from the surgery center.  I did however come across a post done by Jeanne of Ark Angle Quilts about her Cataract surgery.  She goes into more detail of her experience then I did and if the possibility of cataract surgery is in your future I would recommend  reading it.  It was a fairly actuate account of my my experience as well. Just click on Jeanne's post entitled "Cataracts Find the Baby Boomers." 



  1. I have heard so many stories that I sincerely hope I do not have to have this surgery! I hope you continue to improve and that you are able to adjust to the new eyes well. Know you have been in my thoughts and prayers, Rita.

  2. Yea ...congrats on nailing that test! :)
    I, too, am becoming more reluctant to change as I get older ... my situation may not be the best or most wise, but it's COMFORTING.

  3. I'm glad that the surgery went well. I'm sorry it was unexpected to have partially corrected vision and need part time glasses. I hope it'll get easier for you with a little time!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It is good to read about another person's experiences. Best of luck on your healing and the second surgery as well!

  5. Good luck on getting used to everything and on your second surgery..... I was kinda' mad because I had to spend hours (and I mean hours) with my eye surgeon and his staff hearing all the options for the different lenses -- he gave me buckets of handouts to read before and then come back and hear about it again before he'd take my decision...he told us all the pros and cons of each choice in great detail .... it was almost enough to make me just decide to run away and not do anything. But hearing your story makes me happy that my Dr took that much time, becaues so far I'm happy with the choice I made.


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