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Sunday, 06 October 2019


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The hardest part of cataract removals for me was having to keep still and stare straight ahead during the operations. The only bad thing, and it was no big deal, was when I sneezed during the first one. But my eye doctor saw it coming and was able to pull out the needles in time. The result was a big black eye.

The improvement in my vision was dramatic. That really struck home when I could see the stars at night clearly.

One of my older sisters had a retinal detachment in the early 1960s, when I was a kid. In that era, it was surgery that involved knives. My mother and another sister had to take turns watching her sleep post-surgery, because if she moved her head, it could do damage. Fast forward to 2001, and I had a retinal tear. I have to tell you, I freaked!

As it turned out, it was repaired with a laser. No cutting, no sedation, no sensation other than really bright light. Think having a flash set off multiple times 6 inches from your face!

Then, in 2010, I had an actual detached retina in the other eye. It, too, was repaired fairly painlessly, but at least I was not freaked out about that one. I am almost looking forward to cataract surgery.

I do disagree about the eye not having nerves. (Eye problems run in my family.) In the 1970s, I had corneal erosions; basically the top layer of the cornea was abraded. The only thing that has caused me more “discomfort” (the medical term) than that was kidney stones!

Medical care, not only of eyes but of teeth and other things, is a wonder. I had a flu shot a week ago and felt...nothing. For the first time in my life, I had a needle stuck into me and didn't know it, although I was braced for it. Then the pharmacist said, "You're done," and I was actually surprised. I look away from shots, and didn't know she'd started.

A couple of years ago, I got rid of a tooth that had troubled me for years, and it was replaced with an implant. I had no pain, anywhere along the line. My gum was numbed before I got the larger needle that numbed the jaw, and everything following was pain-free. I was given some pain pills, but never used them.

Knee replacements can hurt, I'm told, but then you have new knees. Same with hip replacements. It's all designed to keep us running harder, and longer. Pretty amazing, IMHO.

Glad to hear things are working out well with your eyesight.
My own grandmother was also quasi blind at the end of her life (she lived to 107) and her two complaints were:
- she couldn't read music and was forced to play what she knew by heart but not new pieces (she was a piano professor in her active life)
- at 100 she received a personal congratulations telegram from the Queen and could'nt read it herself.

I have commented before, I’d had similar surgeries, plus a few more. The back of the eye, or retina, and a procedure for controlling pressure. Now, at my age, I can see as well as can be expected, which is not great.
Two things touched me about your post, and one was fear. I know that before my first surgery, I was anxious, nervous of course, but I settled down as the operation was about to commence as classical music played in the OR and my doctor bantered with his surgical team while peeling a orange!
I thought, how cool is this guy?
Now, I’ve been though quite a few operations, all kinds, and I always came through. They really do know what they’re doing.
Also, where did the photo that illustrates the post come from? Is that a selfie? It reminds me of the typical macro shot of a spiders eyes! Just a bit creepy!

[Hi Fred, it's a selfie, taken just a few days ago--last Monday I think it was--during my last checkup with Doc Holly. --Mike]

Similar fears blocked me from having new plastic lenses in my eyes. As you say. the op was less pain than a dentist visit, even a low level dentist event. My work was done with a six month gap between eyes to ensure that all was well before doing the second. The focus point of my eyes is set at the distance form receiving on a tennis court to the server. Seriously, the doctor is a tennis fanatic as well. Effectively this is infinity. I now need glasses for reading only. My wife has one eye on infinity and one set for reading. Her brain swaps seamlessly between the distances as required. Me, I wanted stereo for that distance on a tennis court ti pick up ball spin.
If anyone out there is hesitating over this operation, dont put it off. As Mike says, it is no problem and the results , for me, have been life changing.

We are all humans. Sigh. Back to fight for my little place called Hong Kong. Good luck for your dental works.

Thanks for the update on your condition, Mike. Very glad to hear that your recovery is going so well. Wishing you continued improvement.

With reference to your baseball comment, ever put a stop watch on a (American) football game? Try it some boring afternoon. I used to do it in my teens after spending way to much money on my first chronograph (Elgin). If you are lucky, the ball is actually moving for around 15-20 minutes during the game.

Back to eyes, my doctor says that I will need cataract surgery sometime in the future. He was the guy who found out that I have diabetes. I noticed that I could not see clearly with my regular glasses but could see at distance with my prescription reading glasses. He ordered a HbA1c test and later that day called me to say I had diabetes all spurred by 2 diopter change in my eyesight over 4 weeks.

Reading between the lines (pun intended), it seems you are telling us that your eye received a Fuji Velvia implant. So this is where all the old film stocks have been going, off to the ophthalmologists office!

I had cataract surgery on both eyes a couple of years ago and went from "legally blind" to 20/20 vision. I also noticed the improvement in color perception that you noted.

The op for each eye (laser surgery with implanted replacement lens) took all of 10 minutes and my eye surgeon does over a hundred of these a week!

Here in the land of OZ the cost of the operations was covered by the government because I am retired.

Ain't modern technology wonderful!


Having a good looking doctor can help to hasten recovery. Just sayin' and jokin'.

We actually "see" entirely with our brain. Our eyes work in the same way a camera does for the photographer. They are simply the instrument through which we see. A woman I worked with many years ago got contacts that were one for distance and the other for reading. I asked her if that ever gave her headaches. She said "NO" the brain simply accepts the information from whichever eye it needed to see sharply. I suppose it is sort of like focus stacking with your brain being Photoshop.


I hope I'm not too late to tell you, I have a friend that is a graphic artist. He had cataract surgery on both eyes, and the doctor talked him into having one eye corrected for close and one for distance. He has all his life done his work by hand. After the operation he was unable to do his work. Only the availability of a computer and Adobe Illustrator was he able to return to work.

I had my eyes done, and had both corrected to distance, where I'm 20/20. I still need reading glasses, but I did before so that's no problem. I continue to wear bifocals as I would loose a pair of those drug store pairs a week. And I must say if you are particular about things like reading, don't expect much out of the drugstore glasses.

Oh, and you do have nerves in your eye, it's called the optic nerve.

Re Cataracts etc.
Recommended reading is "Too Much Light" by Clive James.

An old friend, artist, after cataract surgery thought his paintings very good. Previously he had regarded them as ho-hum.

Best Wishes for a full recovery. Fred H

For years I wouldn't let a dentist near me unless I was unconscious. My wife persuaded me to try a new dentist in a local town who did what she called 'twilight sleep@ (Who knows) Give it a try she said and just take this pain killer before you go. Of course there was no 'twilight sleep' but the dentist was very patient and hallelujah he pulled out the bad tooth while I was fully awake. I couldn't believe it. It totally cured me of my phobia and hence I can sit through any dental treatment now
It turned out the 'pain killer ' tablet I took before the visit to the dentist was Diazepam. i often wonder if I had known what I was taking would it have been as a effective in curing my phobia

The other day I found this documentary on Saul Leiter, which is excellent:
Notably, he is without glasses in his 80's, and seems to be happily triaging 35mm slides on a lightbox. Yet in all early self-portraits, he is wearing what look like rather hefty glasses.
Maybe another beneficiary of surgery?

Great post (and picture), for all of us who might be in similar straits, whatever the procedure.

Since my Retina Detachment Surgery in January 2019, which was very successful, I swear I now have more of a Wide Angle View in that eye. I swear it is more like a 40mm lens rather than a normal 50mm lens. But anyway it is a miracle that my eye was saved, I had a dark curtain slide across my view after it happened.

First: Congratulations on the improvement of your sight. As someone who's recently started wearing "readers" (at least somewhat spooked by watching my mother-in-law's issues with a partially-detached retina), who shares your fear of sharp objects especially near the eyes, and therefore is steadfastly refusing to admit that my eyes aren't fine - just fine - I applaud your force of will in getting your operation done, and I'm very pleased to hear that you're having such good results.

Second: You've done it again.

The first line of this post is one of the funniest things I've read online. Ever. When I presented this post to my mom, a fellow word-appreciator, it took her three reads to figure out what was so funny - and then we spent five minutes (or more!) trying desperately to stop laughing.

The same thing happened when I read this post. I think, finally, I'm down to a series of spontaneous giggles.

Except, after trying to pronounce your spelling, now I have to clean off my monitor. Again.

Mike, I had my cataracts replaced last year. Last fall after the operation I did a 3 week road trip to the West coast for fall photography and to visit relatives and friends. It was a bit surreal to have bright clear vision without the yellow cast and to drive the Eastern Sierras and on to the Eastern deserts of Oregon and then down to Nevada and across the salt flats of Utah. The basin and range geography of the west in the fall was spectacular with my new vision. I enjoyed the subtle blue hues of the distant mountains and the dull sagebrush was anything but dull. It was almost like having a buzz and enjoying the scenery and colors but being totally sober.

Enjoy the fall colors with your new vision.

I hadn’t heard that definition of a baseball game before but I can only say that cricket is much more exciting, cramming 15 minutes into up to 5 days ;-) .

I had both cataract surgeries several years ago. I approached the first with "fear and loathing." But it was no big deal. In fact I thought the flowing colors of the washes to be pretty psychodelic. I told the opthalmologist I was going to drop some acid for the next eye. I don't think he thought much of the idea. In the end I didn't, more's the pity.

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