So. Let me tell you about cataract surgery, ca. 2013. First, it’s odd. For the past several years, my regular optometrist had mentioned that I had cataracts developing, but there was nothing to be done. “They need to ripen” said he. So I went along with his advice, and just grumbled.
Then, about a month or two ago, I talked to GlassLady, who said she’d just had hers done. Said her doctor had said ‘ripen’ was old-school and that if they were noticeable to you, you could have something done now.
Well, color me gob-smacked. I called her doctor, got an appointment, got checked. Really like the doctor too; he was very straightforward, does this all the time. Said I was at 20/40, and that at this point, we could wait until they got to 20/50, or do it now. I voted now, and we set up the surgery. Then there was the whole drama/trauma with the insurance, but I decided I’d go with the doctor I knew and came highly recommended, rather than put it off another couple of months and search for another doctor I trusted as much.
So the surgery was last Wednesday, the 13th. You show up an hour and a half early, and they check you in. Wait five minutes for the nurse to come get you, and lead you back into a warren of cubbies with curtains. You get undressed and sit in a recliner. And wait. And wait After about 20 minutes, the nurse comes in, gets a saline IV going, asks a couple of easy questions (did you follow instructions or did you eat?). Then she puts a mark over the appropriate eye (do this one), & puts five different drops in your eye - three times in less than 10 minutes. That numbs your eye, which is a bit disorienting. It also dilates your pupil, so reading becomes impossible. Then you wait a bit more, not long. Then they walk you into the surgical suite.
Climb on a gurney, put your head on a pillow (my head didn't fit it, and that was hideously uncomfortable, and the source of 95% of the pain I felt). We talked of basketball, then the anesthesiologist came in, introduced himself with a joke. Then the surgeon peers down on you, says hi. They drape you in a big sheet, with only an eye-hole, which is surrounded by sticky stuff. That means they can only see the eye they are working on.
They tape your eyelids open, and then use this... clamp thing to keep them open. Honestly, that was the weirdest part, because I could feel it, but ... not? Anyway, the doctor says ‘okay, you’ll feel some pressure, and the light is in your eye and it’s not nice, but it’ll be better in a minute.’ I felt the pressure, but the worst part was the light - imagine having a high intensity light shining into an eye you can’t close. And you can feel some pressure, because after all, they are changing the shape of your damned eye. it’s unpleasant, but very short-lived. And I’ve certainly had headaches worse that that. I’d read up on the surgery: they break up the old lens with sonic waves or something similar, then vacuum it out. Then the slip the new one in; the difference was startling, even before they finished. I could actually see the doctor’s face at the edges of my vision.
This is the lens they put in; the wings stabilize it. Mine is 'UV with light blue filer.'
Then it’s over. They take the sheet off of you, and wheel your gurney out and back to the cubbie. Take out the IV, let you get dressed. Offer you water (which, after 16 hours of fasting was oh so welcome) and some crackers. Then your ride comes in, signs that they’ll take you home and care for you for 12 hours, and you get into a wheel chair, and head back to the doctor’s office. There they do a quick check of your eye, give you instructions and send you on your way.
No pain. No problem. No drama or trauma. Not even a bruise from the IV (the first time ever they’ve done that without leaving a honking big one).
The most amazing things: the rapidity of the surgery itself (less than 10 minutes), the clamp, the immediate change in my ‘new’ eye (I was extremely near-sighted, needing both distance and reading correction, the Rx in that eye was something like a 6.75; after the surgery, the distance vision without glasses is comparable to the other eye with correction. And that was with the pupil still dilated; he said it’ll be better every day!!!), and the continuing inability to drive or read. I’d expected the reading problem - but the not driving has been hard.
I’d expected that once I got the old lens out of my glasses, I’d be able to wear the glasses sans lens and be able to go about my business. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Instant double vision is what I get. And that’s no fun at all. The people at the glasses said it’s because of the strength of the old lenses. I just know it’s a pain in the ass. If I close my right eye, I can see great without any glasses, but I can’t read. Which was expected. When I close my left eye, it’s the same old near-signtedness I’ve had most of my life. So I found that if I want to read, I have to put a patch over my left eye, put on my glasses and read with one eye.
Without any glasses, if I rely totally on my left eye, I can function pretty well. Pull weeds, pick up dog poop, even cook simple stuff. Went to the grocery store, no problem. I just can’t drive myself... yet. I’m going to try tomorrow, see if I can function safely behind the wheel. Honestly, I know people who’ve had lasik, and they get it so one eye gives them distance, and the other close. So I know this is possible. But it feels really weird.
Next (last) surgery is the 27th; I can hardly wait. And I’m not being sarcastic. Truly. I am thrilled with the new lens. It's amazing.