Looking at the world through new eyes!

I started wearing reading glasses at nineteen. The kind old folks need to be able see menus, etc. I remember being a bit appalled at the time that I had eyes that were decades older than the rest of me.

No sooner did I catch up with my tired old eyes, than I needed cataract surgery — last week on my left eye and my right eye yesterday. What cataract surgery means, in case you’re not familiar with the process, is that my eyes received lens replacements. Now I can see better than I did when I was 18. Which means, ironically, that my eyes are now decades younger than the rest of me. Life is just weird sometimes.

Must be magic

What’s amazing to me is that medical science has come so far along in the last few decades that something like cataracts, which used to gradually make people blind, can now be removed along with the lens God gave us and an artificial lens, that is much like the contacts I’ve worn, can be implanted in its place and, voila, I can see 20/20 — like a kid again.

Now, if they could just magically whisk away my tired old muscles and saggy butt, I’d be all set. Only way I know of to fix that, however, is to walk, walk, and walk some more. So, back to the diet and exercise routine I gave up a decade ago.

Time to get this old girl in shape again.

No more excuses.

The rest of me needs to catch up with my eyeballs.

Credit where credit is due …

I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about having cataract surgery. My sweet sister Rosie, though, stuck with me through all of it and helped me keep it all in perspective (no pun intended). She has been my rock the last few weeks and I thank her more than she’ll ever know. (Even though she did make fun of me when I was high on oxygen and couldn’t stop giggling.)

The medical professionals who have guided me through this process have been wonderful. Their kindness and patience (even though I was late for two appointments) helped me cope with what was, for me, two very scary medical procedures. They are the best and I thank them for all they’ve done for me.

In fact, my hat is off to all the wonderful folks at Stones River Eye Center in Murfreesboro Tennessee.

For sale … cheap!

  • 1 Pair of multi-focal eyeglasses, in good condition
  • 1 Pair of clip-on sunglasses, tinted green
  • 3 Pairs of multi-focal contacts, one pair slightly used
  • 2 Pairs of single focus contacts (been in drawer for about three years so may be a little gummy by now)
  • Miscellaneous eyeglass cases, contact lens cases, eye drops, lens cleaners, contacts cleaners, etc.

… oh, wait, it is a poke in the eye!

You’ve heard the expression, it beats a poke in the eye? Well, after the cataract surgery on my left eye yesterday, I can safely say that there are a whole world of things out there that beat a poke in the eye.

Golly but that smarts!

I didn’t expect it to be fun and games but I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for how sore my eye was going to be. It’s finally down to only a twinge here and there so, all things considered, it wasn’t really too awful. It’s a good thing too, otherwise, there would be a bunch of folks wandering around permanently with only one eye free of cataracts.

The best thing about the whole ordeal is that I can see with my left eye without glasses or contacts. I can even read small print. Not tiny print, not yet, but chances are, I’ll get there too.

Now, the scoop (no pun intended, well maybe a little one) on cataract surgery …

First, they set you up with oxygen

I have to say I’m not a big fan of that. It makes you a bit light-headed and I had to ask them to turn it down a bit because, at first, it was like having a fan blowing up my nose. Too much of a good thing and hard to breathe it all in.

Then comes the eye drops

… about a gazillion of them.They keep those babies coming for about an hour to make sure your eyeball can feel no pain. That’s a good thing in my book.

Followed by the duct tape

What, you didn’t know your eyeballs are secured with duct tape?  Just kidding! When the eye can feel no pain, they wheel you into the op room. You’re awake during this procedure and they have to make sure you don’t move around during it so they wedge your arms in next to your sides and then tape your head to the table. It’s probably not really duct tape. It’s probably just some really expensive version of it. Okay! I didn’t actually see the tape but it sure sounded like duct tape when they peeled a big strip of it off that roll.

And then, the poke in the eye

Next, they put a clear plastic cover over your face leaving only a small hole where your eye is. Then they poke a small slit in your eye, suck out the old lens, pop in a new one, and wham-bam  you’re done. The surgery itself takes less than 10 minutes. Yep, it’s a quickie.

The black hole

There is just a few moments, before the new lens is implanted, when you are blind in that eye. That is by far the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had. The light just disappears. Total blackness. That was very disconcerting to me and frightening. Fortunately, though, they had given me a strong enough tranquilizer to keep panic from taking over during that blackout.

The bitter end

The buzz from all that oxygen and tranquilizers lasts for maybe half an hour. Then they push you out the door with a whole bunch of instructions about eye drops and you’re on you own.

It pays to be prepared

I watched a couple of cataract removal videos on YouTube a few days before the procedure so was prepared for what would happen. If I hadn’t done that, I’m pretty sure no amount of fuzzy brain stuff on the planet would have kept me from having a panic attack when they came at my face with that plastic.

If you want to watch some of them on YouTube, click here. (NOTE: If you’re the squeamish type, don’t watch these videos.)

Aren’t they fascinating? No? Oh, well.

Momma told me not to …

The funny thing about this little adventure is that a lot of things happen that your mom told you to never do. For instance:

  • Never take drugs from strangers
  • Never put a plastic bag over your head
  • Never, ever, poke your eye with a sharp instrument

Now, isn’t that ironic? The very things your mom says never do and what to you do? You go out and pay somebody to do those same things.

What a silly, silly world in which we live.

A big THANK YOU to my sister for driving me to and from.

You can read her version of this adventure here. (I may never forgive her for those pics.)

Milk Colored Glasses

Years ago, my ophthalmologist told me I have something called corneal haze. Over the years it’s not gotten better, but it’s also not gotten worse. I guess the best way to describe it is to say it’s sort of like looking through a thin layer of teeny tiny milk spots.

Photo credit, Kemal Gökçe.

Corneal haze is the term I remember him using but that may be more the way he explained it than what it actually is —  corneal dystrophy — which is abnormal material accumulating in the clear outer layer(s) of the eye. (That outer layer is the cornea, in case you’re wondering.) (You can’t catch it because it’s genetic, in case you’re wondering about that, too.)

Unfortunately for me, though, it may be the one thing that keeps me from being able to have my cataract laden biological lenses replaced with shiny new synthetic multi focal lenses. (At least I think that’s it, though it could have been something else entirely, you know how docs ramble, or maybe it’s my brain that does the rambling.) The key word here is multi focal. They can be replaced with single focus lenses but I’ll still need glasses to read. (Kind of a bummer if you ask me.)

Leave it to me to have spots on the outside layer of my eyes as well as spots on the inside of them. No wonder I like polka-dotted fabric so much — it fits right in!

Back to topic …

Photo credit, Wikipedia.

Looking on the bright side, I’ll still be able to have the cataracts removed and only have to wear glasses part of the time. Doc is checking with a specialist to see if any new developments with multi focal lenses make them still be an option for me. I’m not getting my hopes up. We’ll see. And that, when it comes right down to it, is the most important thing — I’ll still see, only better.

If it’s really not an option, at least I won’t have to pay a small fortune to keep from having reading glasses that are as thick as coke bottle bottoms. My new glasses prescription will be much, much less strong (I think that made sense) so they’ll be more affordable. So, it’s all good!  Well, mostly.

Photo credit, Kemal Gökçe.

Now, the big question is — what kind of reading glasses should I get?

How about skinny red rectangles? No?

Hmmm, how about round wire frames, ala John Lennon? No?

I’ve got it! Cat eyes — with rhinestones! Nah!

Who am I kidding? It’ll be right back to where I started — with the skinniest, oval, frameless, granny glasses I can find.

Yep, that’s me!