Ocular Dysfunction 2: In Which I Become a Box Brownie


So, yesterday (Tuesday) I had surgery for the cataract in my left (and only really functional) eye.  On the off chance that anyone reading this is a candidate for this little life experience (and, though you may not be now, there’s an at least reasonable chance you will be one day), let me first say that it’s no big thing.  I’ve had more-stressful experiences at the dentist.  In fact, I found the whole thing fascinating.

When I first rolled in, the first thing that happened (aside from the usual check-in paperwork) was that a very nice nurse plopped eye-drop after eye-drop into my eye.  The drops were a combination of pupil dilators and anaesthetics.  Then, I got stretched out on a reasonably comfortable gurney.  While there, yet another nurse hooked me up to a pulse monitor (67 b.p.m.) and a blood pressure cuff (137/73-ish).  I was, apparently, pretty relaxed.  (Yep, I know that “normal” b.p. is supposed to be 120/80, but that shifts as you age.  Which, obviously, I have.)  Just before being wheeled in for the actual surgery, the surgeon – also a very nice guy – came by and added yet more drops, and a more-powerful anaesthetic goo to my eye.

Once in place for the surgery, he put a mask over the upper half of my face, cut a hole for access to the “target” eye (I should mention that, all along the way, everyone kept asking me, “And which eye are we fixing?”  Gotta like extra caution.), and moved the equipment into position.  Sadly, I didn’t get a particularly good look at the apparatus.  All I really saw was two blinding lights, very close together, coming closer to my eye.  These became gradually blurrier as the procedure, um, proceeded until, finally, they disappeared altogether into a field of uniform bright light, at which point I knew I no longer had a lens in the eye.  Within seconds this changed again, and things became somewhat clearer – the new lens was unfolding.  And then we were done.  In about ten minutes.  Throughout, the only thing I really felt was a constant flush of cool water across my eye.  No pain, no tugging, no anything.

I was wheeled on my gurney back out to the prep room by the surgeon and a nurse.  The surgeon told me everything had gone very well, and said he’d see me tomorrow (a.k.a. “today”).  The nurse asked me how I felt.  I said, “Fine”.  She had me sit up, asked me again how I felt, and got the same answer, and asked me if I’d like them to call the kind soul who was going to come pick me up post-surgery (I was done an hour early!), and I said, “Sure.”, while looking around the room with much better vision than I’d come in with.  I got picked up.  We went to lunch.   I got dropped off at home, had a nap, and that was that.

Now, again, just in case you might be a candidate for this, there’s one last detail to be aware of.  When I first came out of surgery, I could tell that my vision was much better than it had been.  But, it was still a bit blurred.  This was temporary, and due to the fact that my pupil was about the size of a dinner plate, or, in photographic terms, I now had an f0.00001 lens to look through.  Today I’ve managed to stop it down some, and things are better.

The other interesting thing that happened was that, as the afternoon went on, my vision actually got foggier.  Much foggier.  As though someone had applied an entire jar of Vaseline to my lens.  That was due to corneal edema (or “oedema”) setting in.  That passed in five or six hours, and it’s perfectly normal.

So, to the box Brownie.  I now have sharp vision from about 3 feet (a.k.a. roughly 1 metre) to about 100 feet (a.k.a., um, 30(?) metres).  Any closer and I need reading glasses.  Any further and……I don’t really care.  The sharpness gradually drops off.  Someday, I’m sure, somebody will figure out how to put in an artificial, focusable lens, but…..

Oh, and I had a look through the viewfinder of my camera.  Wow!  So that’s what’s in there!  Between being sharper and not having to deal with glasses pushing my eye away from the finder, it’s a whole new world.


2 Responses to “Ocular Dysfunction 2: In Which I Become a Box Brownie”

  1. Markus Spring Says:

    Congrats to your new found vision, Stephen! I am glad all went so well.

  2. sjconnor Says:

    Thanks, Markus. Being able to see clearly again is quite a change.

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