Friday, August 8, 2014

"Now I see!!"

Imagine the dramatic moment when the doctor takes the bandage off my eye… and I could see!  My first impression was how much brighter everything was than before… then I noticed colors like I haven’t seen in years! Reds, Green, Blue, Yellow bright before my eyes! 

The colors of our visible spectum separated by a glass prism

Monday this last week I had cataract surgery on my left eye. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. It is a gradual condition; and over time the lens becomes hardened due to changes in the lens composition and gradual deposits of brown pigment form within the lens.  While my right eye has some cataract it is not advanced enough to warrant surgery.

Normal human eye

Having my cloudy tinted lens removed and replaced with a crystal clear lens explains both my increased sense of brightness and my ability to see colors more brilliantly,

The situation with my left eye.
The procedure was amazing.  I received medication to numb my eye and something to make me feel very relaxed and a little goofy. I was awake but quite happy for the surgeon to do whatever he was going to do. Two small incisions allowed the surgeon to insert instruments into my eyeball.  The old cloudy lens was broken down using ultrasound and it was sucked away.  A foldable plastic lens was inserted, unfolded, and fixed in place.  The process was pain free and during the procedure the retina of my eyeball was stimulated to activate the most beautiful fields of intense colors in my perception– reds, blues, greens, and yellow – it was a regular light show!
Cross section of eye showing the location of the lens... the light sensitive retina layer in on the back of the eye
After a brief time in the recovery room (where I finally got my first cup of coffee for the day at 3PM), and my first food since midnight the night before (2 graham crackers), I was sent home.  The drug that I took was quite long lasting - and Judy said that I looked like a drunk-man for the rest of the day.

No pain after the surgery.  I have to remember eye drops 4 times a day, no water in eyes, wear an eye patch at night, and just practice general extreme care…

Very much my before and after experience!

The surgeon suggested that I no longer need a lens in the left side of the eyeglasses – because the implanted lens corrects my vision without any help.  The eye will continue to adjust for the next month or so.  At that time I will be fitted for regular glasses.  On the advise of a surgeon friend I had the simple type of lens implanted – there are fancy lenses that do all kinds of other corrections – but many people are not satisfied with them once they are implanted.  Plus the simple type of lens provides the best distance correction. I will still need glasses, but I have worn then for so many years they are part of me.
Imagine looking at the world through frosted tinted glass - that is what a cataract is like

The procedure can correct myopic vision problems (near sightedness).   Myopia is caused by an eyeball that is longer than the focal length of the lens.  With the correct implanted lens,  it can accommodate for the excessive length and glasses are not needed for distant vision. 
The normal eye can focus on both near and far objects by adjusting the focal length of the eye lens by use of internal eye muscles that change the shape of the lens.   Alas, with the replacement lens I cannot do that – and must rely on eyeglasses to adjust focus at different distances.

Cartoon artists image of 'Good Soldier Svejk' (the book is written in normal text not cartoons) 
Recommendation of the week: "Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk During the World War, Book One"
It has been said that the most serious topics can only be dealt with in humor.  This book is both a laugh-out-loud book but also very thoughtful on issues of individual responsibility, social justice, as well as matters of religion and politics in society.  "4 stars"

By the way - this is a new translation - that is much more "unexpurgated" than the first English translation...