cataracts : Gay & Black Glossary

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cataracts
As you get older, the lenses in your eyes gradually darken and become opaque. It is hard to notice the deterioration because it happens so slowly. You might notice it is harder to read in dim light. Normally your optometrist tells you about them. They can be corrected by surgery. They poke a tiny hole in your lens, remove the contents, and insert an artificial lens. This restores your long distance vision. If you pay extra, the new lens will act like bifocals, or correct astigmatism. It does not deal with cross-eyedness. You still need prism glasses for that.

My Personal Experience

The operation is billed as painless, and over in 10 minutes. I found it quite unpleasant. It not painful, but there is an extremely bright light shining in your eye the whole time. Subjectively, it feels like an hour. You may not ask questions, talk, scratch or move the entire time. Throughout the operation there is light show of colours and shapes and displays that look like ice crystals.

They do not suture up the hole they make. This means you must be careful to put no pressure on the eye. For example, you may not bend over.

Most of the operation consists of breaking up and removing the fragments of your clouded lens. The ultrasonic tools make a noise like a whirring robot.

After the operation was over, I was almost completely blind in my right eye. This was quite disconcerting. It was easy to worry that I would be blind the rest of my life. Other people had told me I would see astoundingly well. I saw clouds floating by. Eventually, I was able barely make out my hand. There was a ghost hand floating above it. My eye was so dilated there was just a thin rim of iris visible. Little clouds of black dots would appear any time I moved my gaze, then would disappear after a second. I asked my doctor about these artifacts. She refused saying she would discuss vision only after everything had time to settle down.

By the second day, my eye was still dilated, but not so extremely as before. I was able to see distance objects but blurrily. Close objects were even more blurry. I noticed blues, green, yellows and whites were much more intense. I have often complained that socks came only in dull colours. Turns out I was wrong. I discovered that some things I thought were pale yellow were actually dazzling blue-white.

Now, on the second day, my right eye is sore and itchy, but I am not allowed to touch it. It is hard to see with my untreated left eye alone. The right eye keeps sending distracting blobs of light. I have to put in various drops four times a day and wear a plastic eye patch to sleep.

What I don’t understand is it takes time for your eyesight to recover. The lens is inorganic. Most of the dilation recovers by the second day. Perhaps the lens sac or the eye itself has to re-inflate with fluid. Perhaps dazzling light in your eyes for the ten minute operation has the effect of a non-stop series of flashbulbs going off. It takes days to recover. One website suggested your visual system has to adjust. This implies your brain has to rewire.

On the third day, I could see gradual improvement. I could read the titles of some book jackets. I greatly enjoyed the way blue things almost glowed with a dazzling electric cleanness. The fog started to lift, leaving just blurriness.

On the fourth day, the fog had lifted. I could see with treated eye at distance, better that I could with my untreated myopic eye without glasses.

On the fifth day, I went outside on a bright sunny day. My right eye distance vision was clearer than ever in my life. The fog and blurriness was gone. I could read licence places, and the writing on cars and signs. I could read the hour display on my watch, but not the smaller writing. The colours of flowers were so bright, they seemed ludicrously gaudy. Blues were so beautiful with an ultra-violet glow. I had a few tiny intensely black dots with white borders floating around. Later in the day I hade a painless migraine which interferes with vision. Sometimes my eye feels dry. The drops soothe it, but I am not supposed to use extra drops.

The left eye went more smoothly. Right after surgery I was at the same stage I was at on the third day with the right eye. I have completely lost my ability to look at things up close without glasses, including reading and using my computer. Vision with reading glasses is not nearly as good as it used to be without glasses. We will see how it settles out.

Living without close-vision is much worse that I expected. I can’t use a debit card machine. It is quite an effort to use my computer. I can’t read my watch. The right eye seems to be deteriorating and the left eye seems to be stuck without improvement. This is all quite depressing.

Presumably, over the next month my right eye will improve. I bought some generic reading glasses to use my computer.

Everyone was so enthusiastic about the operation. Nobody mentioned the downsides, hopefully temporary.

I would suggest to anyone considering the operation to plan some time off to recover where they have no obligations, and can just sleep or listen to the radio.

Eye Drop Chart

The instructions for using the eye drops for the procedure are quite complicated. To add to the confusion, each drop has three different names. Vigamox prevents infection. Nevanac is a pain killer. Pred Forte is a steroid to reduce inflammation. Muru is just salt to control the water pressure in the eye. One way to avoid making errors is to sort the instructions out and express them as a chart like this. In my case, the right eye surgery day was 2016-04-22. The left eye surgery day was 2016-05-06. This chart says how many times a day to put in one drop of the given medication. Label your bottles with tan, blue and lime dots to help keep them from getting confused.

Eye Drop Chart

Left Eye
Right Eye
brand Vigamox dot Nevanac dot Pred Forte dot
Vigamox dot Nevanac dot Pred Forte dot Muru
alternative Occuflox dot Diclofenac dot Prednisolone dot
Occuflox dot Voltaren dot Prednisolone dot Salt
2016-04-20 Wed
4
2016-04-21 Thu
4
dot dot dot
dot dot dot
2016-04-22 Fri
4 2 3 1
2016-04-23 Sat
4 2 4 1
2016-04-24 Sun
4 2 4 1
2016-04-25 Mon
4 2 4 1
2016-04-26 Tue
4 2 4 1
2016-04-27 Wed
4 2 4 1
2016-04-28 Thu
4 2 4 1
dot dot dot
dot dot dot
2016-04-29 Fri
2 4 1
2016-04-30 Sat
2 4 1
2016-05-01 Sun
2 4 1
2016-05-02 Mon
2 4 1
2016-05-03 Tue
2 4 1
2016-05-04 Wed 4
2 4 1
2016-05-05 Thu 4
2 4 1
dot dot dot
dot dot dot
2016-05-06 Fri 4 2 3
2 4 1
2016-05-07 Sat 4 2 4
2 4 1
2016-05-08 Sun 4 2 4
2 4 1
2016-05-09 Mon 4 2 4
2 4 1
2016-05-10 Tue 4 2 4
2 4 1
2016-05-11 Wed 4 2 4
2 4 1
2016-05-12 Thu 4 2 4
2 4 1
dot dot dot
dot dot dot
2016-05-13 Fri 2 4
2 2 1
2016-05-14 Sat 2 4
2 2 1
2016-05-15 Sun 2 4
2 2 1
2016-05-16 Mon 2 4
2 2 1
2016-05-17 Tue 2 4
2 2 1
2016-05-18 Wed 2 4
2 2 1
2016-05-19 Thu 2 4
2 2 1
dot dot dot
dot dot dot
2016-05-20 Fri 2 4
2016-05-21 Sat 2 4
2016-05-22 Sun 2 4
2016-05-23 Mon 2 4
2016-05-24 Tue 2 4
2016-05-25 Wed 2 4
2016-05-26 Thu 2 4
dot dot dot
dot dot dot
2016-05-27 Fri 2 2
2016-05-28 Sat 2 2
2016-05-29 Sun 2 2
2016-05-30 Mon 2 2
2016-05-31 Tue 2 2
2016-06-01 Wed 2 2
2016-06-02 Thu 2 2
2016-06-03 Fri
Cataract surgery click to watch

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