« Zeiss ZX1 Update | Main | Using Photographs Differently »

Friday, 12 October 2018


So, what you're saying is that computational photography is pretty similar to how human seeing works? :)

Best of luck with surgery, recovery and logistics.

Further to the idea of a lot what we "see" being the result of signal processing in the brain / mind, I've always wondered why it is that we don't
"see" the world the way a wide angle lens does. What I mean is that we don't experience the same exaggeration of perspective as you see in 21 mm or wider lens. And I can only conclude that this is because of way we construct the world in our mind.

Another phenomenon that reveals signal processing is when you're looking at an old-fashioned CRT display or television out of the corner of your eye, while your head is being jostled or moved. It can sometimes be as simple as the jaw movement while eating. What I have experienced in those situations is that the CRT image tears up. It's no longer whole. My mind can't process the movement of the head in combination with the scanning of the electron dots that make up the image and so the picture on the screen falls apart.

You can experience something a bit similar when you rapidly move your head or eyes while it's dark out and LED tail lights are in your field of view. You'll see multiple images of the tail lights as they "strobe" across your field of view. Of course when the view is stationary, the mind assembles the strobing into a more or less continuous light effect.

Mike, fear not! I've recently had cataract surgery for both eyes. Now I no longer see the world through a pale yellow filter. Colors are now rich and true. Time will tell whether the Toric multifocal lenses that I chose in the hope that I wouldn't need eyeglasses will turn out to be a wise investment. The worst part of the surgery is putting drops in my eyes for a month and wearing giant wrap-around sunglasses. All in all, I'm glad that I had the surgery.

I think the biggest issue many of us face is the knowledge that the eye "deteriorates" with all sorts of issues and, speaking for myself, I just hope the rest of me wears out before the eys go. In my case my grandfather and then my mother handed me a genetic present in the form of macula degeneration. I just had a checkup 3 weeks ago and it has gotten worse in last 5 years. My doc says in 15 years I'm likely finished seeing well straight ahead. "Checkout" time probably will soon follow :-)


I had a mini stroke last year that took out a large bit of my right eye.

Had to learn how to use my left ! - am really glad I didn't buy that Leica I had been pondering :)

Good luck and all the best


Empartnered is a perfectly cromulent word.

This might not make you feel better, but I have a friend who had an eye operation recently, all done without general anaesthetic, and he could see the needle or scalpel or whatever entering his eyeball and jiggling around doing whatever it needed to do.... totally painless.

I'm experiencing similar problems which I first noticed that under certain conditions I have double vision with only one eye open. Cataracts apparently. I should have worn dark glasses more when I was younger.

Also apparently empartnered is a word.

Of course I had to check myself for "Seeing is the soul's perfect delight". No results in Google. In this day, I always find it amazing when that happens -- a actual combination of words that has not previously been used.

If you loosen the criteria a bit (e.g., searching for the word "seeing" and the phrase "soul's perfect delight") you find some results, from... TOP! Sept 22 2013, Jan 17, 2019, and Aug 11, 2009, none other than Mike wrote "Sight is the soul's perfect delight", in the context of vision problems.

Still no results beyond TOP though for "Sight is the soul's perfect delight". I don't think it was some random Pope who said this. It was you the whole time!!

You clearly have had these eye problems for a while now Mike. Good luck getting it fixed.

Mike, the very best of luck with your surgery, and with finding help. I'm sure you will have considered the possibility of moving temporarily to stay near or with a friend or relative who could provide the support you need?

I'm facing my first cataract op in the coming months, but I have an eye hospital nearby. My wife can and will drive me and she has already had both her eyes done there. These things make the prospect of my op so much less frightening.

I think fear is quite understandable, but knowing the probability of success should help me with mine. I also draw some comfort from the fact that my worst eye will be done first, and the better kept in reserve. A bit like having two engines on a plane.

Good luck with the logistics. I suspect that will be the hardest part of the surgery process. There should be some sort of provision in our health care system for folks who don't have a significant other available to drive them here and there when they can't drive themselves.

Had my cataract ops done with local anaesthetic, joked with nurse and doc the whole time. Best thing I ever did. Went from 7 to 8 diopters to 1.5!

Damn, Mike. What a scary problem! But it sounds like you have this problem well in-hand and your prognosis is good. Of course Chris and I wish you all the best and endorse Rodolfo Canet's simple suggestion.

Separately, isn't it fascinating how heavily our eyesight depends on our brain for interpretation? People whose eyes are misaligned, for example, ultimately develop the ability to use just one of the two images they see, rather like your wagging tail anecdote. But this observation does raise some ponderable questions regarding photography, doesn't it?

Anyway, don't worry about us. We'll be here when you return with an upgraded lens.

My friend (same age as me) had cataract surgery recently on both eyes, SOB can now read his phone without reading glasses! Good Luck!

All the best for the ops when they come.

I lost all hospital fears after two heart attacks; the technique is simple: I just say to myself that time moves on, and that in three or four hours I will be in a different situation, and that nothing can alter that truth.

I had normal eyesight until I reached 44, when I discovered I had problems focussing the enlarger. An optician fitted me up with reading glasses and that was great - eventually, after I got over the sense of huge barrel distortion. My long distance sight was extraordinarily good, as I discovered when I read a distant ship's funnel logo where a normal-visioned guy had to use binoculars to do it.

Then, I found it hard to focus the dslr. The effect was strange: if I nailed focus quickly, all was good, but the moment I started hunting focus, I lost it completely: I had to look away and start again a few moments later. (A split-image screen would have fixed this!)

This got me a date with the opthalmists at the local hospital and they discovered I had high pressure in both eyes, and I was put on drops that contained beta blockers, messing with the dosage of my blockers for my heart problems.

A rapid effect was that my vision swapped around completely: I can now read the finest of print without specs, but my distance vision is lousy. That means specs for watching tv and driving. It remains easier not to wear glasses driving: with them, everything looks smaller, and that makes distance look greater, and also, if I look at the two instruments, speedo and rev counter, the one on the right looks much larger though they are actually identical. I made a photo of the cluster and Photoshopped in the distortion before going to the optician where I went for new glasses. She was very impressed, and asked me how I'd got the picture. Cool, but the latest glasses are actually no better: no shape distortion at long distances, but plenty at near distances and driving still makes distances look greater than they are. I have to park without wearing glasses.

I also need cataracts taken out of both eyes, but have no idea when I will get an appointment and, if it passes Brexit date and with no good intergovernmental deal struck, I'll have to dig very deeply to find the bread for that venture!

Like you, Mike, no spouse anymore. It makes everything very problematic indeed, and I can't ask local folks to run me back and forth to hospitals, so that will make some taxi service very happy.

Keep your pecker up; this too will pass.


Mike, I wish you the best. Take care.

Believe me, you’re not alone in feeling this way about it.

Nice use of a Gogh.

Good luck, blessings, all that and more.

Hope it all goes well. My wife had her eyeball drained and taken apart so they could fix what was essentially a varicose vein behind her retina and sew up her retina again. She still has a bit of a dark spot in the middle of her vision in one eye, but seems to have adjusted. The hardest part was spending lots of time lying down, while the eyeball refilled with fluid. She could feel it sloshing around.

TMI? Sorry.

By the way, I think it’s not an uncommon “phobia” (as if it was really irrational). In the famous 300-issue graphic novel Cerebus, well in back pages really, author Dave Sim talked about the “injury to the eyeball motif”.

It is perfectly understandable to be apprehensive about eye surgery.
But since it sounds like there is no real choice , the sooner the better.

Re transportation some insurance covers it (especially when you can’t drive as a result of the procedure.
Also check local churches , many have volunteer programs to help for little more than the cost of gas. And finally put the word out for local retirees who would drive for a small fee
I’ve seen all of the above work
Good luck

Mike, fist of all Best Wishes for your operation and I am sure that you will recover much quicker than expected.
Regarding being your chauffeur for 5 days I would be very pleased to offer myself but, in fact, I live in Rome, Italy, a bit too far away from your place.
Nevertheless I am confident that many of your TOP readers living not too far from your place will offer themselves.
In fact you need only 5 persons, one a day, to have the opportunity to take care of you and listen to the many stories that you will tell them.
Americans are worldwide famous for their generosity, definitely they will not miss the opportunity to give you a hand.

Mike, I know the anxiety that you are feeling about sharp things near the eyes. However, I've just had cataract lens replacement surgery and for the first time in ever, I can see at infinity without glasses. Just ask the nice gas passer for a little happy juice. Things will look much better.

Check into the bus options for travel. Many communities have a service for the disabled and recovering people who need travel to doctors, dialysis, etc. My mom used one in a couple different towns. They come to your house but you have to give them fair warning and you can end up waiting a lot.

Hi Mike, good luck, we will get along somehow for a week or so. Now is the time to hang a bunch of prints on the ceiling so you can enjoy them while lying down! Is that allowed?

Just a thought... could you have the surgery elsewhere, near your family? And recover there at least in the beginning.

Good luck!

Was just saying to someone that everyone gets issues when aging, first minor then increasing in significance. Good luck with the operation and recovery, I'm sure everything will work out in the end. And stare at the ceiling? I would've thought that staring into distance would be better.

Maybe have a guest curator. Tell everyone that there will not be any comments for that time frame, just posts. And have your guest curator/moderator throw some stuff on the wall and see what sticks!

My heart goes out to you. I only had a torn retina, which was not nearly as serious as your problems but it scared the hell out of me. Concentrate on getting well. Your subscribers will return to you I am sure.

According to my teacher's edition, "empartnered" is a perfect cromulent word.

In 2012 I had an infected eye, part of having septicaemia. The retina detached, and I had the op under a general anaesthetic where the gas bubble is inserted into the eye and I had to lie with the head in a certain position as much as possible.

The left foot, source of the septicaemia, had to be elevated in a way that was in the opposite direction to the head position. I found a couple of ways to do it.

The retina reattached, but there was distortion; a house door appeared to be hour glass shaped with that eye. Driving at night was hard, especially through roadworks; lines of roadwork lights were doubled and I couldn't see which were the right ones.

The gas bubble op usually causes a cataract, and I had cataract surgery sometime later. Most of the distortion went away, so I now have good depth perception and binocular vision again.

My cataract op was done under a local, I just had to lie back in the chair and not move the eye. I didn't feel a thing. The bright light I was staring into became black. I think that part of the eye became desensitised, but tiny eye movements caused the light to appear on a different part of the eye on one edge, where it would be brilliant white for a while. It took about 45 minutes.

Don't worry about the ops. I've had about seventeen ops of various sorts under a general, and my main concern is that when I come to in the recovery room I really, really, need a cup of tea. Of course, they can only give water.

Back on the ward I get a cup of tea. Lovely.

It has been my experience with eye surgery that there is more worry before hand, the waiting part is the bitch, than actually going through it. Although I am empartnered, so that did help. Before I retired I had the cataracts done in both eyes and as a prior commentor mentioned, you will be in for surprise when you get the new lense. I asked the doctor if they had used a blue lens and he laughed and said, No clear, your old one yellowed over the years, but you don't notice it. The second one was I developed a torn retina in my left eye. Yes I was worried, but it wasn't much different from the cataracts. As they drain the fluid from the eye and back fill with air you lose the vision in that eye for a while. The followups and laser treatments to fix minor damage was a real pain, not to mention having to hold my head in a certain position for many hours a day. As my eye was back filling with body fluids I noted that the air bubble was at the bottom and asked, the doctor explained the the eye sees opposite, which i remembered from school and how lenses work, but when the eye vision doesn't compute with the brain it is a wild experience.

Good luck for the operation and easy recovery! As for someone else's advice to take it as professional athletes do, let me add very best wishes for a professional athlete salary! But at least you are as popular as any of them in this small corner of the universe, which should count for something, shouldn't it?

Have a speedy recovery.

Beethoven lost his hearing, and Euler lost his eyesight. Both did magnificent work after losing those primary senses. Of course, I hope you fare better, but in any case, I trust you can still do great work.

Sorry to hear about this Mike. Good luck with the eye op. I empathize with the fear of blades near the eye. Maybe meditation might help deal with that one?

Hi Mike,
I’ve been reading your blog for a very long time and up until right now have very much enjoyed what you and your constituents have had to say. I’m 99.9% sure you will be just fine and I “know” beyond a shadow of doubt that after moderating and posting to date that you should close the comments and take a strong dose of Xanax.

It's a knotty problem, especially that bit about being driven to and fro from the hospital. I don't think the rest of it should be much of a worry, what with the amazing health services I believe America has on offer. Of course, with you being a writer-photographer (is that an acceptable description?), there is the perfectly understandable reluctance to allow anyone to work on your eyes.
I'm in a similar position as you and well understand your predicament. However, like Micawber, I'm sure something will turn up and you'll negotiate this phase smoothly. I wonder if Xander has any plans to step into the breach?

On a side note: "...my main concern is that when I come to in the recovery room I really, really, need a cup of tea." ~ Roger Bradbury.
Mr. Bradbury must be English. Englishmen developed tea drinking into a fine art -- and something of a ritual -- over the two centuries when Britannia ruled India.
I get the impression that Americans drink a lot more coffee than tea (apart from stronger beverages) ;).
Being addicted to tea myself, I sympathise with Mr. Bradbury.

I had the opposite problem... a membrane on my retina. It’d already messed up my central vision in my right eye. I had to be face down for hours for two weeks. Being on your back should be much less challenging. One of the complications was that I’d get a cataract, which I did.

Here’s where my advice comes in. I’m a retired pediatrician but didn’t know much about cataract surgery. After peppering my ophthalmologist with questions she told me to look at the YouTube videos. Don’t do it! I was thoroughly grossed out and I used to be a doctor.

It never hurts to get a second opinion and check out the facility in which the procedure will be performed. Is the doctor any good? Don’t ask your friends—- ask a nurse in the hospital in which the doctor works, if possible.

Good luck and be well..

I've had several eye operations - detached retina, retinal repair (both eyes), cataract. They are scary, but less scary than the progressive problems they are designed to address. As to the experience, a lot depends on the confidence you have in your medical experts.

When it's all over, you'll be glad you did it.

Hi Mike, I'm a longtime reader and an optometrist. This is a good time to have cornea surgery for Fuchs. DMEK is an effective treatment with a very good prognosis. It's a relatively new procedure with significant advantages over its precursors. My clinical interest is the perioperative management of cornea surgery (I don't do the operations). Feel free to reach out with questions. Best of luck!

I had a scleral buckle put on one eye after a retinal detachment. In a few words, basically a surgeon stitched a piece of rubber band onto the back of my eyeball to deform and push it forward. Hope your procedure is not as dramatic.

Best thoughts and wishes to you.

our town, population 14,000, has several vehicles available and volunteers drive folks who need temporary help. You should check that out.

Having suffered from a detached retina 25 years ago -- and having two unpleasant procedures to repair it -- I am also facing cataract surgery in both eyes.

Retina procedure #1 (the scleral buckle) did not work and was made worse when I woke up in the middle of it to hear the retinologist shouting out me not to move until they put me out again.

Procedure #2 did work but involved having an injection of some gas into the eye that (if I contorted myself appropriately) would push the retina back in place prior to having it welded permanently with a laser.

(Interesting, as the gas bubble was absorbed over a period of week, at one point it was small enough so that if I moved my head the right way it acted as a magnifying lens within the eye -- now that was cool and unexpected).

I am hesitant to do the surgery, but the vision in my worse eye is really bad -- double vision across the cataract and there are no contact lenses made that will satisfy my -14 diopter need. The other eye is at -12, so I am told I will have close to normal vision after the surgery. I have needed glasses since I was 6. My wife says I have to do it, so it will be done.

Best of luck Mike!

Mike, first of all, best wishes for the operation, whenever you have it. Hopefully, you can find the assistance you need for the weeks of recovery afterwards.

As far as trepidation before surgery, probably everyone has some. But the risk/benefit ratio goes a long way towards convincing one to go ahead. E.g., in 2015 I had two surgeries. #1 - prostate cancer, which I could have opted to wait to do anything about, based on probabilities, but ... it was cancer! (Along with my prostate, I lost any sense of modesty or embarrassment in a medical setting.) #2 - knee replacement. Surgeon said it was elective, but I could hardly get around. Scheduled it, did the before PT, got it done, suffered a bit, did the after PT, and just yesterday returned from a European tour, one day logging 20,000 steps on my pedometer.

I had cataract surgery last year. Right eye first. Wow! It seems that I had perpetually seen things in the light of the golden hour. And the white trim paint in my home wasn't as yellowed with age as I thought it was. Left eye had some complications. Iris wouldn't close, so now I have a contact lens that has a fixed aperture, and light-blocking black on the reverse.

If you go back to sometime in June of this year, you might locate a comment I posted that described what happened after I experienced a detaching retina, and its surgical aftermath. But, Steve Weeks in an earlier comment on this post, describes how things progress, so I won't repeat it. It was a fascinating learning experience. The choice then was pretty much a no-brainer: if I had the surgery, there was always a slight risk of going blind in that eye, but if I DIDN'T have the surgery, there was a certainty of it happening.

So anyway, again I'll say, good luck, best wishes, and take heart in the fact that most of these things work out pretty well.

I underwent LASIK several years ago. I wasn’t sure that I would continue with it; the first eye pretty stressful. But by the time I got to the point of calling it quits the doctor had finished that eye, I figured if it was that fast I could endure the second eye. All went well and two days later I was able to drive.

Listen to your doctor. Mine insisted on frequent eye drops. Don’t skimp if you’re told to use them. My depth perception was shot for a few weeks. Pay close attention to that oncoming traffic! My vision took about 6 months to settle down. Nothing says fun like a vision change while blasting down the freeway...

I’m glad that I did it. I’d been wearing glasses since I was seven. Seeing clearly without them was a revalation.

Hi Mike. I had cataract surgery in both eyes. Went fine. You get to request where you want your focus to focus, and they get pretty close. Last year I had strabismus surgery in both eyes- My eyes were facing in to center and no longer correctible w glasses. So the doc drags your lids open, cuts the muscles that move the eyes in and out, resets the eyes, reconnects the muscles so that the eyes face correctly. The whole idea creeped me out. It went fine. I still need a little correction in my glasses, but for the first time since I was three years old, I can walk around without glasses, even drive, without endangering myself and the world. This kind of thing works great most of the time. My only decision was which doctor in the practice to choose. I chose the newest doc because she had these really tiny hands. YMMV. Best wishes.

Here is another positive response on cataract surgery. After 65 plus years of dealing with extreme near sightedness as well as serious astigmatism, my clouding corneas were causing issues, worst being driving at night-any light or headlight seemed to have major halos that made it impossible to have any confidence in the visual cues. Lots of eye drops in preparation, then first the "bad" eye, then the good eye. Quite fascinating was the two week interval where I had one "old" eye and one "new" eye. The gradual yellowing and clouding of the cornea was not noticeable since it happens over so many years, but being able to close one eye and see the difference was dramatic....bright white was almost unbelievable ! Also the difference in night time driving was tremendous, especially being able to compare old vs new with literally the blink of an eye. Or two. Also noteworthy was the ability to choose your focus point-quite fascinating-you could make one eye lens correct distance focus and the other eye lens correct close focus, and your processor (ummm-BRAIN) would seamlessly integrate near and far and render output that would be best of both! Dunno 'bout that-seemed a little far out there especially when it came to my very own eyes. I went with the conservative version of distance focus, and glasses for correction to reading distances as well as some residual astigmatism. So I could pass my state driver's license vision requirements w/o the dreaded "corrective lenses" for the first time in almost 60 years! That is some good stuff ! And yes, all of it being first time for me, I was antsy at times, but it was really quite a fascinating and superbly beneficial experience. Even the surgery-the patient is a bit mellow but is fully conscious while the eye surgeon does his thing and only the surgeon has a better view! Truly amazing-highly recommended-if you need it, "Get 'er done!"


Interesting, in that departures from the norm aren't necessarily debilitating.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007