I can see clearly now

When I was much younger I noticed that old guys liked to talk about their medical procedures. So let me tell you about my recent surgeries.

In recent years my vision wasn’t as sharp as it was when I was younger. Driving at night became more difficult, particularly when it was raining.

For several years optometrists have told me cataracts were “ripening” in my eyes and that someday I would need surgery to fix the problem. At my annual eye exam in December, the optometrist indicated it was time and set up an appointment with an eye surgeon.

That meeting went well and surgery was scheduled for February 8 and 22.

Folks who had already experienced cataract surgery assured me that it was virtually painless and had an easy recovery. I believed … but had a few doubts.

When I was about 10 years old my grandmother told me about one of her friends who had undergone cataract surgery. She claimed the woman was hospitalized for several days after the surgery and then was highly restricted in her lifestyle for a period of time.

That was in the 1950s but Oma’s details lingered in my mind. These thoughts sent me to the Internet for more information.

I typically avoid seeking health information on the Internet because I have a touch of hypochondria. When I read about some medical problem I suddenly begin feeling the symptoms.

Nonetheless I looked up “cataract surgery” on the web. Wikipedia reported, “Cataract surgery, also called lens replacement surgery, is the removal of the natural lens of the eye that has developed a cataract, an opaque or cloudy area. The eye’s natural lens is usually replaced with an artificial intraocular lens implant.”

That was innocent enough, but I went on to read how this “replacement surgery” is done. Gulp. Then I read about potential complications. Cataract surgery is the safest of all surgeries but there was a list of things that could go wrong as evidenced by the paperwork I had to sign prior to the surgery.

The resulting worry was wasted energy. The procedure went well with both eyes and other than a little discomfort in the days following the surgeries it was an uneventful experience.

On the day of the first surgery, Julie and I were greeted in the waiting room by an old friend who I hadn’t seen for a decade. His wife was undergoing cataract surgery at that moment. It was good to catch up with him.

A pleasant young nurse took me back to prepare me for the procedure. While waiting my turn the anesthesiologist came by to explain his part of the procedure. I recognized his family name from back home and discovered that we had attended neighboring high schools five years apart. I took comfort in the fact he was younger than I am.

I confessed to the anesthesiologist my anxiety and encouraged him to use whatever medications that were at his disposal to calm me. He explained that I would be awake during the procedure and that if I need more calming medicine I could request it. Whatever he used worked. I was cool as a cucumber.

So did I see improvements in my vision? You bet. My distance vision is crystal clear. I do need “cheaters” for up close work like reading and computer work. I have enlarged the image on my computer screen and that is working well.

The first thing I noticed after the surgery was how bright everything appears. The cataracts had clouded my vision with a yellow-toned haze.

I have a follow up visit with the surgeon this week and look forward to his response.

I imagine some of you have already experienced cataract surgery. For those who haven’t, the odds are good that you will need the surgery sometime in the future. My advice: avoid reading too much about the surgical procedure. You won’t like reading about a machine peeling off your eyes’ lenses and related technical stuff. If you’re not a hypochondriac before you read that stuff, you will be when you’re done.

We live in a wonderful time when such procedures are safe and efficient.

I can see clearly now; the cataracts are gone.

Arvid Huisman can be contacted at huismaniowa@gmail.com. ©2024 by Huisman Communications.


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