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Thursday, 23 May 2019


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I had a couple of holes drilled in my right iris, by laser, because the pressure in my right eye had increased to 'dangerous' levels. I was told to come back for a checkup three weeks later. But then was sent a letter saying come back in three MONTHS ..which didn't sound right.

I challenged it, and was told "no need to come back sooner than three months". By then my peripheral vision was going, and I should have INSISTED on being seen after three weeks: the increased pressure wrecked my optic nerve, so I have only minuscule central vision in the right.

Don't be afraid, just keep challenging them to be SURE that they explain every procedure, the whys and the wherefores and the complete timescale for treatment. It's all utterly painless ..just think of something else while they're doing it, and in the lead up to whatever they'll be doing. Just go limp, and let them do what they're trained to do. They've done it all before. They're adept at it. Just think of what YOU'RE adept at, and let them get on with it. Don't fret.

Wishing the best for you Mike. And don't worry, your fans will be here waiting for your healthy return.

If you insist upon throwing around quotations by Ben Franklin, Michel de Montainge, and non-specific medieval Popes, I can only respond (and perhaps reinforce) with a quotation from the medieval anchoress Julian of Norwich: "All shall be well."

The medical and technological stars appear to be well-aligned. As for any fears you may have for the health of The Online Photographer during your convalescence, be assured that your faithful flock of followers will await your return to the helm with serene patience and an abundance of good wishes.

Mike, good luck with the surgery! I had the surgery about 7 years ago on both eyes. It's a quick and painless procedure. One important decision you have to make regarding the replacement lenses - single focus or multifocal ones. My personal experience - I never met a person who was happy with the multifocal choice. I picked the single focus ones with the goal to use glasses for reading only. Beyond my expectation, with some effort I can even read without glasses after the surgery. Wishes for your positive result!

Mike, I can understand, having had AMD for about 7 years now, although only in one eye. It means that I can really only rely on the left eye, but it works pretty good. I go to the Retinologist every two or 3 months to get an injection in the eyeball, which was pretty terrifying at first, is now pretty routine. The eye guys are pretty amazing these days, so best of luck in your work.

We will wait as long as it takes ... all the best!

”I'm scared about this.”

Completely understandable. This past Monday, perhaps while your eye was being drilled, I was undergoing the most extensive battery of eye exams I’ve ever had. The upshot was the discovery that I have a slowly developing cataract in my left eye which accounts for the slight dim-light haziness I’ve been noticing. Surgery may be in the cards in the future. For a moment I, too, was a bit scared.

But I know from the experiences of people very close to me that ophthalmic surgery and treatments have come a long, LONG way since we were young. Certainly your surgery will be inconvenient and perhaps uncomfortable for a while. But your condition and its treatment is well-understood and well-practiced and refined. So relax, sit back and try to enjoy a brief ear & nose vacation from your eyes.

As one who is "seeing" the onset of macula degeneration - inherited from my mom and grandfather - your "scared" is profoundly understood by me. What can I say but to wish you the very best for your operation's success and good eye site for your remaining lifetime.

Dear Mike.

Your friends here on TOP are feeling with you and wish you well for the operation.

Interesting that you should mention Montaigne. I too regard him as my friend, and now that you mention him I can see that there is a certain Montaignesque element in your writing, and this could be part of an explanation of why your site is so important to so many people. Something to think about.

Hoping the best outcome possible for your eye surgery in June. It's truly amazing how much medical technology and various treatments have improved over time so I expect you will come out of this better than ever. And think of the recovery period as a chance to catch up on some new music or becoming reacquainted with some old favorites.

I can identify with your fear. Six months ago I was diagnosed with age related macular degeneration. My ophthalmologist says it's very mild and the only thing to do is keep close tabs on my vision and take a daily dose of eye vitamins called AREDS-2 from good old Bausch & Lomb. Also avoid bad stuff like smoking (quit almost 30 years ago) and too much bright sunlight (wear shades, be cool). But the possibility of losing one's eyesight is scary, especially for a photographer. And I've been the proverbial scared s***less about it. The fact is the anxiety is probably worse than how critical the condition will turn out to be.

Take care, my friend.

You have lots of "friends whom you've never met" out here in the Interweb. We are here, and we will be here for you. Take care of yourself.

Just upped my Patreon subscription amount to show you that I mean it.

Come on, FoM on the Interwebs, give him a bit of love!

I won't describe my medical history over the past 18 years (after no issues for the preceding 58 years), but I will offer a couple of things that I have learned from my experiences. First, there have been major advances in the last X number of years that have made a lot of these complicated and exotic sounding medical procedures relatively commonplace. As laymen we are simply not aware of them. I found that, knowing that a lot of people have had a successful procedure and that the odds are in one's favor, helped to put me at ease.
My only caveat is, be sure that the surgeon has done more than a few of the procedure in question.
You'll be fine.

Best of luck! Take the time you need to recover fully. I won’t forget about TOP, neither will fellow readers I am pretty sure.

I wonder if Helen keller took any photographs?

Wow, that's startling news. I wish you all the best on the procedure and recovery. You brother is correct that eye care has really really advanced in recent years, so my confidence in your recovery is high.

It's none of my business, but I'm thinking you should disable comments for your automated posts during those few weeks. Obviously you won't be able to deal with them, and it would suck to have to comb through 5000 comments once you can turn your screen back on. (But I'm sure you already thought of that.)

The other thing I'm thinking is "podcasts!" and "audiobooks!" but that means you need to figure out how to get them going without looking at a screen. Maybe if you get an Alexa or a Google Home you can use the voice activation. "Hey Google, play the latest podcast!"

Mike, too have had many eye surgeries. I too worried because I did art and graphics for book publishers, and would have had to change careers, had it not been for the computer and draw programs that enabled me to on screen enlarge what I was working on.
I wish you good luck with your procedure, I’ve had similar corneal transplants , cataract, retinal surgeries. I’ve been fortunate, as I had excellent doctors and medical care. They do amazing things now. Have faith, all will be well, and don’t worry, we, your fans will stay with you!

All the very best of luck and good fortune, Mike - and that it works out very, very well.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery on everything, Mike. I'm given to bouts of worry myself but loss of my eyesight is one of the few worries in my life that actually transcends into the realm of fear. I once knew a coloratura soprano who had the same feelings for her hearing, so it's only natural to carry actual fear about the sense you utilize the most. I will be thinking of you come early June. Let us know if there's anything we can do to help carry the load during your recovery!

Mike , I think it is pretty natural to be apprehensive about any surgery. Even more so with the eyes. The anticipation is the most difficult part.
All I can say is be comforted by the great prospects for success.
Focus on a great outcome . See yourself seeing better.
Good luck, God speed your recovery.

I wish you the very best outcome for your forthcoming surgery, Mike. Any operation on one's eyes is a scary proposition. My partner now reads everything on a backlit screen because of a botched operation.

Good luck with the upcoming surgery.
I recently had bilateral cataract surgery and made the following ((photographic) observation.
Senile cataracts have a variable degree of yellowish/brown discoloration. They usually do one eye first, followed by another one sometime later (in case there are complications from the first one!). The new lenses inserted are colorless, and during the period between surgeries I could compare color with the cataract side and the new lens by shutting one eye. In my case the cataract gave the effect of a x2 yellow filter on a color image: the new lens provided a much improved version of the world which initially reminded me of Velvia. Now with two new lenses everything has settled down to Provia !

Your mention of Montaigne has triggered some further thoughts in me. What kind of photographer would he be? Gentle observations, non-judgemental, pursuing subtle hints in his subject matter with quiet persistence and without ever forcing a conclusion, always allowing for apparent side issues to enter into the argument. Not for him the aggressive closeness of a 24mm street shot, nor the cold distance and restricted focus of the 90mm. There can be no doubt: Montaigne would use a 40mm! At a small aperture! (But in truth of course he would use Fuji, so if we were to meet Monsieur de Montaigne on the streets of New York today, we would see him with a well-used X-Pro2 and the 27mm f/2.8, set at f/8.)

My copy of Treasure Island is the one illustrated by Ralph Steadman. It adds just the right touch of visual joy for me. :)

I wish you the best of luck!
Once my brother and I read this question “Would you rather go deaf or blind?” And my brother immediately answered “Blind.” He loves music and he couldn’t imagine not listening to music anymore. You already know my what was my choice.

A fornight without abusing your sight? What an occasion to abuse your hearing! Use your rest to enjoy your music collection! And you will have an unusual time to think about new posts; record your ideas as sound notes in your iPhone.

All the best, Mike, and do not fret about your readers. We'll be here waiting for you.

I feel your anxiety. I had to have laser surgery to repair a tear in my retina decades ago. The scariest part was watching the doctor insert a long needle to anesthetize the back of my eyeball. I had to keep my eyes open all the way. The good thing is that the surgery has held up. I also had cataract removal and LASIK surgery. Both worked out fine. Yours should too, but follow the post-op instructions to the T! Good luck.

Mike, I wish I had some magic dust to sprinkle upon you that would prove curative. But I don’t. You may not be a believer but I plan to pray for you and the medical team. It might be in vein and I might be wasting my time in others’ opinion, but I choose to spend my efforts praying for my friend. It’s my time and I can do with it what I desire.

As far as what to do during recovery time? Research podcasts and load up your phone or computer with ones of interest. There are literally thousands. Add a digital voice recorder to record any ideas or thoughts generated while listening that could be used for future blog posts or otherwise any things that you want to remember. Sit back, listen, learn and exercise some mental creativity.

I’m the eternal optimist and I choose to think that your eyes will be better than ever before.

My eyes getting damaged are my biggest fear too. I know that cataract surgery is in my future at some point in time. Good luck and God speed, all will go well..

Wishing you every success with the operation!
You have many, many old posts that are worthwhile reposting so you should do it while you are off. Not sure about programming stuff to post, would it not be possible to have someone else post them for you?

I just had cataract surgery a couple of weeks ago. It is a strange surgery, as I was awake and listening to them as they described what was happening. Hopefully yours will go as well as mine did. The improvement was significant. An interesting note, the ophthalmologist asked if I noticed a color difference, and as I switched from my right eye to my left eye (surgery was on the left eye). I went from a yellowish tint to a brighter white (sort of like the difference between incandescent light and daylight from the old film days). My ophthalmologist said my new lens made my left eye see as I did in my 20’s and my right eye was showing the results of “yellowing” with age. Anyway, I wish you the best with your eye surgery and look forward to hearing about your success and improved vision.

Wishing you a speedy recovery Mike. Get some audio books to help you with the boredom. Any problem with the eyes is frightening, as I know, but like me you will be ok.

FWIW,and I'm not sure what it might be worth, I've had various eye surgeries over the years and, particularly as a photographer, found them all frightening. The early surgeries were not even with a laser. And if you want to exacerbate the fear of eye surgery then watching the knife come down toward your eye is an effective method.

As I went into surgery each time I would talk to myself about how I was going to enjoy my new artistic outlet of writing poetry.

Everything ended up fine, other than the fact that I have four different pairs of prescription glasses for different conditions among which I switch around all day. But I do remember the irritating and boring time periods of recovery when I couldn't see well enough to do anything - a good time in which to work on your meditation chops.

Sorry I don't have more to offer beyond the fact that you're not alone in going through this.

I wish you the best Mike. Your operation on the eye is a fairly common procedure these days, so stay calm an have confidence.
I'm also a pessimistic, but I try to take it with some humor, so when somebody say to me "how are you today" , I answer "worst than yesterday but better than tomorrow" to state my steady decline, I'm 68 now.
Use the recovery time, those 14 days, to rest and to think in future post, your head is full of ideas. If you can bring with you a recorder to speak your ideas will be great and will keep you busy. A friend did that once when he had an eye operation and told me was a very good idea.

We'll all be pulling for you Mike, and I'm sure most of us will still be around when you are able to get back to work. I know I will.

We will be thinking of you and wishing you the best on June 4th. I look forward to your fast recovery. In the meantime, there is a ton of material in the archives. If it is programmed to appear each day we will be kept busy enough.

And that is a fine portrait of RLS. I am always surprised at how popular he is the the US. The house where he was born in Edinburgh was round the corner from the house I lived in, (he was before my time obviously!) but I didn’t know that at the time, and being a teenager would not have cared. There are also some good pubs that he liked that are still extant. You could plan an interesting visit simply by touring his hangouts.

I hope you and your eyes come through with flying colors, Mike. Thinking of you. Don't be shy with updates.

And I appreciate your take on fun. I'd venture to say that a big reason film has had a bit of a resurgence these past few years (driven mainly by people under age 30) is the yearning for that missing ingredient. I've gone on a recent cheap old camera binge -- featuring a Pentax SV, a Pentacon FM, an assortment of mostly East German M42 mount lenses, a lovely Konica II, a sleek little Petri Racer, a Minolta Autocord, Polaroid Spectra, and a Kiev 10 and Mir 20mm. And I'm jonesing for a Kiev ii and Jupiter 3. And I've been shooting them all. They are, each and every one, fun. What wasn't fun got sold or donated to FPP's school photography program (good luck, kids).

I was thinking the other day about what started all this and I realized that when I was cleaning out my apartment a few months ago (I'm going through some challenging life upheavals myself) I came across an Olympus Trip 35 that I had bought years ago but never shot. The selenium light meter still worked, as it came and was stored with its lens cap, so I went out and shot it. What freakin' fun! A shot in the arm that camera is. Zone focus and automatic exposure so you just shoot, shoot, SHOOT! Incredible. And that simplicity is built around a very fine lens so the results are as rewarding as the process. That's what got me going.

I don't think there's a market for a digital version of the Trip 35 because that space is occupied by your phone. But why does there need to be a digital version? Do like the kids do and get your own Trip 35 -- over a million were made -- or the myriad other cheap little Japanese viewfinders and rangefinders with nice lenses made in the 60s and 70s.

OMG these EVF’s are getting more and more advanced nowadays!
This might also be a good occasion to dive into the works and career of Hannes Wallrafen. Once an exquisite photographer (wished I only had made one of his images), and after turning blind in a very short time, becoming a sound artist. The images at his website are unfortunately petite, but you can find many larger ones at the www.
The saddest thing: Butters is probably too old now to be trained as a seeing-eye dog.

Here's hoping your procedures go well, as they most likely will. In all probability, your eyesight and color appreciation will improve, there will be no or little pain to deal with, just a couple of weeks of visual boredom. A perfect time to hone your audiophile sensibilities, perhaps.

And here is a thought - count yourself lucky, your prognosis is very positive!

I have a cousin - in her thirties at the time - who lost both of her corneas in a span of a few weeks. Six years later, she is still legally blind although she is not sightless, but has pretty much lost a very promising career in academia. She would give her right arm to be in your situation.

So, stiff upper lip and all that. Ageing, with all its lumps and aches and losses is the price we pay for the gift of still being alive.

Best regards :)

Worrying is like praying for something you don't want. [Multiple attributions]

Wishing you successful outcomes. Having had my own recent eye surgeries, one an urgent one, I understand your anxiety.

And btw, I found the enforced stillness, once I made my peace with it, to be rather calming.

Chin up! I wouldn’t want anyone messing around with my eyes, either. But my mother just had cataract surgery and now, a woman who has been wearing glasses since she was six has 20-20 vision. My father lost sight in one eye due to something diabetes-related and, to me, I can’t detect any functional difference in his life. I’m sure that you’ll be fine but remember that you can only look through the viewfinder one eye at a time. The human body has tremendous capacity for recovery.

You might look into the case of Michael Kinsley, the snarky, sharp-as-a-tack political writer who took to the NYT Op-Ed page a couple of years ago to announce that he had some kind of degenerative brain condition that would hit his language skills. Like you, a bullet straight to the heart. Not sure what he’s been up to.

Good luck, Mike. I've had quite a bit of work done on my eyes, including two cataract surgeries and repair of a detached retina. It's completely natural to be stressed about this sort of procedure. In fact, I couldn't believe what I was expected to go through for the retinal repair. (I won't elaborate.) In fact, up until that moment of emergency, I never would have imagined agreeing to it. But, like you, I simply did what I had to do. And now I'm really glad. My vision is better than it was 25 years ago. I brag about my "bionic" eyes. Current eye surgery tech is just amazing, and it sounds like you're in good hands. Forward!

Mike everything will be fine and you will finally be able to complete your book tanks to the the dictating tech of modern computers you do not need to write until doctor will allow you.
Very soon your right eye will be in a much better shape that has been in the past years and you can start going around the lake taking pictures with beautiful autumn colours.
All the Best and get well soon.

Sort yourself out, we'll wait.

I think that is really good news, you soon will see better than ever before! Honestly, I have no doubt that this will go really well. That said, I totally understand your worries and anxiety, the surgery itself is scary, including the aftercare. I keep my fingers crossed that that part won't be too bad.

there have been significant advances in corneal surgery just in the few years I've been procrastinating about having it done
Procrastination's bad reputation is undeserved.

Good Luck Mike. (Not that you'll need it)

You are going to come out of this and immediately realise that all your recent camera choices have been inadequate, and Full Frame is your new minimum!



Audible or Spoken books. Your library probably has a number. My favorites are the Patrick O'Brian series about two men fighting Napoleon by ship. If you can get the ones read by Patrick Tull. Wonderful reader and wonderful to listen to. Thousands of other interesting books to listen to.

Set up a group telecom with photographers and just discuss photography for an hour or two. You can't get all of use at once but a talk between half a dozen could be fun.

As for "photoblogger going blind", I had a lecture in medical school from a blind professor of radiology. He said he remembered the X-rays he discussed in detail.

Good luck in your operation. I had retinal surgery a few years ago the required lying prone all day for two weeks. They make special chairs you can rent for this, but it was very difficult. It looks like what you're facing is gong to be even harder to tolerate. Good luck... I hope it goes well!

I had my cataracts removed last Dec. It was almost to the point I couldn't drive they were so bad. Everything went perfect and I now have better than 20/20 vision and can actually read and use the computer without glasses. Something I have not been able to do for decades. I also could not focus a camera nor do colour balancing in PS before my surgery. My joy in analog MF photography is back. My Leica M's and Hasselblad are now getting regular use!

I'm sure you've had lots of well-wishers but let me add mine to the list.

All the best

My best wishes for your surgery Mike. Maybe time to stock up on podcasts and music to keep your mind active during your recovery? Or how about starting to learn a language, if that interests you? Remember there's also talking books you might be able to borrow from your local library.

PS If you've never listened to the original audio version (I have it on LP) of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, I can strongly recommend it. Much better than the written or TV versions.


If you weren't scared by your eye problems, I would probably be more concerned about you. My mother was a worrier, which of course, she passed along to me. Whenever there was an issue of any kind in our family or with our friends, Mom would fret and worry about the least little thing. However, after a lot of worrying, speculating and speaking about how badly the issue could work out, she would finally get around to saying, "well, things always work out for the best." She really meant it too. I luckily also inherited that trait. I guess one could say that is a positive attitude but I really think it is just faith in its most basic form.

Like most families, we have had our share of bad and good, some very, very bad, and some very, very good fortune. Through it all, I have come to believe that my mother was indeed correct, things have a way of working out for the best, somehow, someway.

I am still in that worry stage about your vision problem myself and you may be too, but it probably best not hold on to that worry too long. That is most likely a sure way to impede things from working out for the best.

I am aware that this all sounds a bit corny and simple but somehow it has gotten me and our family through so far.

All the best to you Mike.

Hope all goes smoothly and that you make a quick recovery Mike. There's nowhere quite like your site on the internet and I'm sure lots of us will be delighted when you make a healthy return, but we'll be rooting for you in the meantime.

Mike, it is alright to be scared when it comes to medical tests and procedures. And it is a good thing to share it. I hope it feels a little less scary after you out it out in the open. I'm sending you a brotherly virtual hug, and I'm telling you that everything will be alright.

Mike, over the past decade I've had a detached retina, a partially detached retina, an incipiently detached retina (twice), an operation involving a gas bubble and two weeks of immobility, a cataract operation (side effect of the gas bubble), and god knows what else. My screwed-up eye now produces better vision than the supposedly better one. All these operations are less alarming actually than in antcipation. I just hope your insurance situation is OK, you being in Trump's America and all.

If you are interested in N. C. Wyeth “This summer the Brandywine River Museum of Art will present N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives, the first exhibition in almost 50 years to examine in depth the entirety of Wyeth’s multifaceted oeuvre. A formidable yet often overlooked figure in the history of American art, N. C. Wyeth was the foremost illustrator of his generation, and the patriarch of an extraordinary family of artists. By repositioning Wyeth as a distinguished painter who worked across the perceived divisions of visual culture in painting, illustration, murals and advertising, the exhibition offers new insights on Wyeth’s place within the broad spectrum of early 20th-century visual arts.”

Co-organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the Portland Museum of Art (PMA), this landmark exhibition will include approximately 70 paintings and drawings selected from major museums and private collections. The exhibition will be on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art from June 22 through September 15, 2019.

Good luck Mike

Good luck Mike. Don't worry about your livelihood. We'll all be here waiting.

Trust me I know about worrying way too much about medical procedures. So far my luck has held out.

All the best to you, Mike. I'm sure it will work out fine.

A good friend of mine who worked many years as a photojournalist and won many awards (and who's 90th birthday we're celebrating next Monday) has been blind in one eye since he was a teenager. Good thing the other one always seemed to work!

In late 2011 I had DSEK surgery, a cousin of DMEK. I also had cataract surgery at that time. It wasn't fun, and the recovery took a while, but I am seeing better than ever now.

I've had good luck with eye surgery in the past, going way back to early childhood. In my 20's I worked for eye surgeons, doing computer work mostly. Being in that office and watching how the staff dealt with people who had much worse eye problems than me was an education in many ways.

My only advice is to be a good patient. Your goal as a patient is to allow everyone around you to do their jobs as well as they can.

While I was lying in the prep room before my operation, I overheard a guy who was being prepped for his operation complaining about the privacy agreement he had to sign when he checked in. As if the prep staff have anything to do with that agreement! Don't be that guy.

All the best for the op, Mike - and never fear, we'll still be here when you get back!

Hang in there Mike, I'm sure even if you were blind I'd very much enjoy to read your ramblings each morning, as I've done the past ten years or so. Whatever happens, your wit, eloquence, knowledge and the sheer humanity of being bravely honest are simply uplifting, each and every day.

Good luck, Mike. I'm having cataract surgery the same week and am anticipating good results, as should you. In any event, those of us who follow TOP won't evaporate. We'll be here to read more when you get back.

Hi Mike,
I have now had two eyes that have had cataracts replaced and both times I got rather depressed prior to the operations. It is a hard thing not being able to see properly when it is what you do. It is great that decided to post on this subject as it is something that affects a great many of us. Especially as we age. Mine was caused by having had to take steroids for a problem that I developed though living a rather bohemian lifestyle in Paris about 20 years ago, which caused the onset of early cataract formation.
Now I really value being able to see clearly, I need glasses for reading and computer work but my distance vision is what it was. So I wish you well, it takes a bit of time to recover and you will. When you are better your mood will dramatically improve because the clarity comes back to your eyesite and it is wonderful because you appreciate your vision with a whole new clarity.
Good luck with the op.

Mike - for the recovery period, load yourself up with some good audiobooks - whatever strikes your fancy. Maybe ask us, your readers, for recommendations.

Will be thinking about you on June 4th Mike...... best of luck.

Mike, medical technology is so good these days, your operation is unlikely to be unsuccessful. I understand your doubts, having been through a life threatening operation a couple of years ago. Don't worry about the future of your blog, we, your loyal readers will wait for you as it is simply the best photography oriented site on the net. Rest assured our thoughts will be with you. Best wishes, Nick.

Best wishes for a swift & full recovery Mike. Please don't rush back into TOP work - we're not going anywhere.

I was a worrier when I was a kid but haven't been during my adult life. I started to stop being a worrier when I got out of school which funnily enough was on 4 June ( 1980 ).

Mike good luck with the eye surgery and a speedy recovery, its normal to worry about any type of surgery you're not unusual for that. Have no fears about your position as "chief cook and bottle washer" at TOP headquarters,your loyal followers will still be here when you complete your recovery.

Hi Mike,
When my eyes suddenly and utterly unexpectedly stopped focusing, and produced double images, I spent some time like you, not being able to watch screens, or read, or write. That's when I learned the joys of audio books from my local library! I hope you have access to these marvellous vehicles for escaping boredom.

In any case, Canada's single user public health insurance had my back. I sincerely hope all goes well for you.
All the best,

Good luck with the surgery! That's a long time of doing not much for recovery. Collect some good audio books now!

I found a headline online that says the average British adult needs four days to unwind on holiday. Your minimum recovery time is four days. If it stretches to 14 days, you'll have unwound 3.5 times. We shall expect a healed, healthy and fully rested Mike when you return.

Last year, I spent quite a bit of time on a medically enforced holiday. I'll admit that I sometimes enjoyed the lack of pressure on me to work (even though I needed the money). There is nothing better than a desparate medical condition to stop you feeling bad about not working, or stop anyone from putting pressure on you to do so.

I/you/we might never get such an opportunity again.

I find podcasts and BBC radio sitcoms are fine way to spend the time when I need my eyes for something else. You might enjoy Cabin Pressure (it is very funny) or the more sedate Ed Reardon's Week (which is about a writer). In and Out of the Kitchen is also very enjoyable (also about a writer). They are available on iTunes, as far as I know.

Lastly, I was out of commission for months on end. All my clients waited for me. Please know that we will wait for you. Four to 14 days is trivial. We'll all be here.

Wishing you a smooth operation and a quick, easy recovery.

Here's looking at you!

As you probably know, James Thurber became sight impaired later in life. His vision was never good to begin with. I suspect that he was highly myopic, and developed myopic macular degeneration when he became older.
As you also probably know, the device in the photo is called a phoropter or refractor.
If you are also having the corneal procedure, the ophthalmologist probably told you that you are not a good candidate for a multifocal intraocular lens implant. You pretty much need a perfect eye to be successful with one of those. The standard monofocal intraocular lens implant should do well for you.
Good luck! You will do well. I'm willing to bet bucks on it.

Hi Mike,

We're lucky to live in a time where medical professionals feel they can treat issues such as yours. You'll be in my thoughts on 6/4 and afterwards. Wishing you the best for a successful result.


A month or two from now, at the most, this will have been a bump in the road. Jitters are natural. Insist on being informed. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Then let the docs do their work. We'll be here when you return. Just concentrate on following instructions for a speedy recovery.

You will be fine. I recently had two bouts of cataract surgery (both eyes, 1 year apart). The transformation has been miraculous.

My brother recently had a DMEK procedure, and that too was routine and totally successful.

I wish you the best, and enjoy the break. Get lots of good food in the fridge though - carrying heavy bags of shopping is a no-no, so I hope someone is looking after you.


Leave less time and space for your mind to worry - and luckily you have something to fill the mental space. Put your head down and deliver the posts that will cover your absence. You'll be busy, and the completed task will generate positive feelings.

Best wishes

Mike, a couple of weeks ago I made a composite image and emailed it to my surgeon. She said she was delighted and will use it for both patients and trainees.

It showed a gas flame on the cooker hob. The colour in the right half was 'out-of-camera'. I said that's what I now saw with my right eye. I desaturated the violet/mauve colour of the flame in the left half until it looked like the colour I've become used to seeing over the years (I'm in my mid 70s). At that point I was then between cataract operations, and only the right eye had a new lens.

Now that the left eye is also fixed, the left/right difference is just a memory.

Like Mike Berman ^^, I picked the single focus option and now the second eye has had a few days to stabilize, I'm very happy.

Somehow, I was more scared by the second operation than the first. Maybe it was because I knew it was likely to be done by a trainee surgeon. Intellectually, that felt good to me, just like paying relatively high taxes and getting free eye operations at an excellent local hospital under our "s****list" National Health System.

But nonetheless I was a bit jittery, until it was done. Very best wishes, Mike.

Pulling for a perfect outcome out here on the Left Coast!

Having both eyes drilled, (IRIS to relieve high pressures). Then a year later both eyes cataract surgery. In my experience the laser drilling was not entirely painless, feels like an eyeful of grit afterwards. The cataract surgery was painless however a month of eye drops 3 times a day was a royal pain but YOU MUST COMPLY for a good surgical outcome. I just learned that the original lens is not removed entirely since a small segment needs to be there for the new lens to rest against. The remaining lens may cloud over time for some patients and then the scar tissue will require an "in office" laser treatment. This is the last step if needed and will last your lifetime. I always tell people after cataract surgery I can see footprints on the moon, however my reading vision did suffer slightly.

If I can walk around Paris with seemingly every rue/avenue/boulevard under construction and live to tell the story, you can do this. 👍🏼

You can listen to a lot of music in your two "don't use your eyes" weeks. Clearly another love of yours. You'll just have to use physical media (CR or LP), since streaming would involve screens. Unless you can convince Siri or Alexa to play music for you.

You could try to listen to the audio book of Nolan Glasser's "Why You Like It." It's very interesting, I've started reading it, but it's slow going because you really want to play the music bits. I presume he can't include the music in the audio book for licensing reasons.

Right here waiting for good news Take rest. And al will be fine.

So, back in about 1983, I saw something weird in my vision, a blurry spot that wouldn't go away. Turns out that a childhood disease I'd had, histoplasmosis, scars your retinas. It almost killed me when I was 7 (well, the pnuemonia almost did), but then here in my mid 20's was its insidious return. Had to go to the Wilmer Eye Clinic, part of Johns Hopkins. Laser surgery to cauterize a bad spot near my macula---the scarring/bleeding lifts the retina, and if near the macula that's a big deal.

So, the set up for laser surgery. Got myself anesthetized through NEEDLES IN MY EYES. But that wasn't the worst bit. The worst bit was after I put my chin in the cradle and they strapped me in, and then said "DON'T MOVE". Holy crap....

Maybe you can sign up for an Audible Unlimited account have have audiobooks to listen to while recovering. You could even just tell Siri to load them up, or if you have an Amazon device, Alexa. The key with this option is you aren't using your eyes to operate. Both of these are voice controlled.

Or another option for audiobooks is to contact your local library. I looked up the Finger Lakes Library system and saw that they use Overdrive, which supports audiobooks. How cool is borrowing books from the library from the comfort of you home? This cool!



Mike, I think there's a stray ‘is’ at the beginning of this sentence.

The recovery is involves boredom, which I dread as well, and takes somewhere between four to 14 days, during which time I'm not allowed to look at screens, or read, or write, or watch video, or do anything else that causes eye movements

Also search YouTube on the importance of being bored especially in today’s society. I think you may dread it less. Good luck with the operation. I had an eye problem a few years ago and it’s all fixed now so glad I went through with the surgery.

Hi, Mike. I can't speak to the DMEK surgery, but you're going to love cataract surgery. First, approach it as a photo-geek. It's fascinating!

Each of my eyes took less than ten minutes for the actual surgery (which was totally painless). Dental appointments take longer, and are less interesting. You'll be looking up at a bright light (no tunnel involved, fear not) that will suddenly go blurry, then...sharper again. Aaaand...you're done. I had to wear an eye patch for 24 hours afterward. When I took it off, the world was in much better focus, and I found I'd been looking at the world through an organic skylight filter for years! All of a sudden I was seeing with daylight film, unfiltered (i.e. the world was much bluer than I thought).

Like Mark, I got single-focus lenses, and, again, a photography comparison is apt. Your eyes will now act like box Brownies. For me, sharpest focus seems to be around 15-20 feet. In bright light, pupils contract, increasing depth of field. In low light... You're a camera!

And, like Mark, I use glasses for reading (though I could get by without), and for longer distances than 20 feet (though, again...).

Really - put on your photo-geek hat, and you'll be amazed.

Mike, I hope all goes well with your surgery. I enjoy reading your insightful photography posts.

I'm lucky enough not to have had an operation and I think the most unsettling thing that I've ever gone through was a difficult landing... People were screaming, crying and praying but I concentrated on putting my faith in the professional at the controls and that seemed to work for and calm me.

Maybe you can do the same and find comfort in the knowledge that the team looking after you will have done the same procedure many times and will actually be rather good at it.

Best wishes for a smoot ride, a good outcome and a swift recovery afterwards.

MIke, Cataract ops are the most successful surgery performed on humans. One interesting point will be colour. You will percive relatievly more "blue" then previosuly (think Monet and his paintings of the lily pond which chaged radically After his cataract operations ) and this will settle post op as the brains "colour constancy" kicks in. Please choose SINGLE VISION lenses and NOT multifocal. Accept the fact that you may need reading glasses post op and all wil be well. Mark is right, I have never had a patient who has chosen multifocal implants and been happy . They ALL complain about glare/fuzzy vision. You wont ned ANY luck at all just a great safe pair of hands - which you will have and follow the post op drop regime!It'll be a breez. Best David

I wore contacts from 18 and decided to get my eyes lasered.

The consultant said instead i should get the lenses in my eyes replaced. My corneas were a bit thin and he advised against the laser. This is the same operation people with cataracts have.

It meant that I would never have cataracts and it is a ONCE in a lifetime operation.

He suggested that multifocal was not suitable because I am a 'picky' sort of guy. I had single focus lenses inserted.

However I asked him to under correct one eye so that I could read my phone (menus etc .) without glasses.

It was a great success. No pain, no problems. Great.

When reading a paperback I wear glasses.
When driving at night I wear glasses which correct the 'under corrected' eye to perfect vision. This is because eyesight at night is poorer (for everyone) than in daylight.

The only thing I regret is that it used to be that when text was too small I just brought the item closer to my eye to allow me to read it. However with single vision lenses that does not work and I need glasses in that situation.

Good luck.

Good luck with the surgery, and let me know if you have any vision related questions concerning the retina (my area of research). DMEK are becoming a robust and reliable procedure, and most folks find improved vision and outlook.

Might suggest intentionally stocking up on audio books, podcasts and music for the recovery. There are also some pretty good speech to text options out there these days if you can find a little help to deal with the back end. Best wishes for a smooth procedure and outcome.

Best wishes for an even better than expected outcome and a speedy recovery. Links to some of your favorite posts, posts that have received the most comments, and guest posts are always appreciated. Maybe one of your many good friends could curate and upload the contents so you aren't tempted to short-cut your visual convalescence. Dedicate yourself to pleasant daydreams of future successes.

Good luck with the surgery. It sounds like you need to get an MP3 player that you can operate by feel and load it up with a few weeks' worth of audio books.

Hi Mike, Since I was a teenager I have lived with keratconnus (conical cornea). At first, it just meant some slight double images, which I could live with. At the age of 55 I went for my mandatory driving eye test and failed - the test said that I was legally blind (although I thought I could see fine, my brain having “learnt” what it was seeing) and so would lose my licence. This wasn’t really an option for me because of my work, so I opted for laser surgery to put some plastic implants into my corneas to flatten them. I was really scared by the thought of lasers in my eyes and almost pulled out of the surgery. I’m glad I didn’t as it was a completely painless procedure and was over in 30 minutes. After the bandages were removed, I remember going outside at night and realising, for the first time in years, that I could now see the stars in the sky. I remember crying with joy at this sight as I hadn’t realised what I had been missing.
Try to get past the fear and focus on what great things might come from this. Our sight is so precious...
Cheers Kevin

I had cataract surgery in both eyes in March of this year. Since then, I have had the best eyesight if my life. I am 20/23 in my left, and 20/15 in my right eye. After wearing specs or contacts consistently since 1962, I am free of glasses except for close work and reading. The actual surgery was as effortless as one could ever imagine.

I hope your experience is as positive as mine. Good luck!

You will recover and in six months, you will hardly remember this experience. My eye surgeon, Dr. Sabates told me, to go into to surgery tomorrow or be blind for the rest of your life. I had lost sight in my right eye due to retina detachment. A Black curtain just suddenly slid over my vision so there was just some dim light on the right side. This was Jan 7, 2019. On Jan 11, 2019 I had the surgery followed by 8 weeks of recovery with a gas bubble holding the attachment together while it heals. Today, I am sighted better than ever, looking clear and bright. You will be fine. Write down all your eyedrops as you use them and don't miss any doses. They are the key to a good recovery. Also wear a plastic eye shield for 2 weeks when sleeping so you don't rub your eye in your sleep. Follow directions on the position to sit and don't lift up anything heavier than a coffee cup. Don't worry so much!

Good luck - and all the best! Will be waiting!

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