NOTE: the above video is an actual film of my surgery, it’s graphic, but presenting as it is interesting to watch. I couldn’t get through it the first time.
I had mentioned in a previous article that I was about to tend to an eyesight problem. About three years ago I was diagnosed with cataracts. A little on the young side, but as I have been told sooner or later, we all get them.
As I began to look into the surgery, it scared me to death. Just the thought of things coming at your eye is enough to start making deals with yourself. “I can get by”…..”maybe I can just get stronger glasses”. Sooner or later you will be having the same conversation with yourself.
The reality of the situation is it creeps up on you slowly. Vision becomes a problem. In my case almost total blindness in my left eye.
Call it cowardess on my part, anything else is just a rationalization. It was a couple of months ago when I was speaking to one of our city officials who had just gone through the surgery. It is one thing to listen to the eye doctors, but quite another when he took the time relate just how simple it was for him and the remarkable difference it made to his sight. Lots of emails and conversations.
The end result is that I called a center. I’m not going to mention the specific center as I am sure each and every cataract center in our area is just as professional and the basic steps about the same. The cost, I found is all within a hundred dollars or so at each center. I don’t want this to sound like a commercial for any specific center.
This column is presented for other cowards out there. There really is nothing to fear.
STEP ONE – The Exam
Your first contact will be a scheduled appointment. During this appointment you will have one of the most extensive eye exams you will ever have. It’s not a trip to your regular eye doctor to get glasses. During the appointment you will be told lots of information. Most of it you won’t remember, you won’t be able to get the idea of what is coming out of your head. It’s ok though….they know that.
At the end you will be brought to someone to schedule an appointment and arrange for payment. Plan to spend about $3,500.00 It’s worth it, no matter what you have to do. All of the centers have a company that you can even finance it if you wish. Interest free, over a period of several years. Money shouldn’t be an excuse.
STEP TWO – The Waiting Room
On the day of your appointment, make sure you bring someone with you. You won’t be able to drive home. After arriving you will be sent to a waiting room, and in my case a group of five other nervous people. Then taken into a nice large room full of staff all there to prep you for the surgery.
The first thing you are given is Happy Juice. “It’s to help you relax” you are told. Boy, they aren’t kidding, they could sell that stuff.
About five minutes later the group of previously nervous uptight people are now resembling a dayroom scene out of One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest. One of the staff came over and told me and my seat mate, “no, it’s not okay to exchange hair nets”, removing them and putting them back on the right heads. Eventually a lady came over and we formed a circle and had group. No sharing though. And for about fifteen minutes while all the eye drops take effect the staff sort of tries to keep people focused, in their seats, and not playing with the furniture.
STEP THREE – The Nice Man Behind the Curtain
This is where things start to get fuzzy. I remember a cute young girl that took my hand, hey, it doesn’t happen that much – and we walked into a room with a curtain where a nice man put more drops in my eye. This time the eye went all cloudy with what looked like rain clouds dancing in the sky. I remember one looking like a horse and another looking like a race car. While you are making shapes out of the clouds he is numbing everything. You do not see anything or have a clue what is going on. Absolutely painless. a fraction of what you might experience having a tooth filled in the dentist office. A fraction. It take a couple of minutes….I think it was a couple of minutes anyway. The happy juice had kicked in.
Someone takes your hand again and you walk back to the chair.
STEP FOUR – The Surgery
A few minutes later the eye doctor comes out, shakes your hand, looks you over real good and you are soon brought back to the surgery room. There isn’t much to tell. You are out of there so fast. I would estimate about five minutes, and most of that was just getting you into the chair and the such. You can even talk to the doctor during the surgery. You don’t feel a thing. You really don’t and will be surprised when they say “all done!”.
Another pretty girl takes your hand and you are brought back to the waiting room where eye drops are given to you with instructions for their use.
That’s it. In four hours or so you take the tape off that is holding your eyelid down and the magic begins.
Later that day when you remove the tape it is like a new world has opened up for you. I am describing the experience as looking through the eyes of an eighteen year old. It will hit you that way. And they say you can’t buy youth….pffftttt.
Everyone is different as the eye and brain start working together. In my case things were crooked for a few minutes and over the next day as the eye becomes less and less dilated you will find your self wanting to look at everything. The colors are back, things aren’t fuzzy……vibrant. I spent the longest time looking at a patch of weeds yesterday on my way back for the next day follow up appointment. “Will you get in the car already”…my wife was yelling at me. I was in no hurry, and you wouldn’t believe the detail in those weed patches. One other quick note. I am in the hardware store here in town most every day. I was in there yesterday, day after the surgery and the ladies behind the counter were wondering why I was just standing there staring at them. Frankly, I don’t think I have ever really seen them before.
It truly is a miracle.
My other eye is only about twenty percent bad, compared to the severity the other one was. I had no idea how bad it had become and how much I was compensating. I can’t wait to go back and get the other eye done. The gift of sight for a few thousand dollars. What a world we live in.