And suddenly there was light
It is amazing what these, approximately 1cm diameter bi-convex disks of clear plastic did to change my outlook.
Suddenly the until-now rather drab world that I had unwittingly been inhabiting was replaced by a new amazing colourful vista.
I never knew the walls of our living room were such a light colour. The trees are a brilliant green. I can see individual leaves moving and reflecting different shades from soft fern and olive to dazzling emerald.
Everything is suddenly as bright as can be. The sky is a beautiful blue, but there is too much of it. I can’t bear to look at it. I’ve had to invest in a pair of dark glasses which until now, I had considered sheer affectation.
I had the operations a week apart.
After the first on my right eye, I could close it and my drab world would return. Open my right eye and I was in a brilliant heaven.
Now I live permanently in this bright new world. Perhaps my writing will pick up to match my new environment.
And it takes no time at all.
The actual surgery lasts about 11 minutes, provided there are no complications. It is the reading and the form filling beforehand that takes the time – and to think I almost changed my mind about it.
You are handed a page which the nurse tells you is required reading (if your eyes are good enough, that is!) This is what you read. I have summarised only slightly.
RISKS OF CATARACT SURGERY
This is not to scare you, but do not sign the consent form before reading this.
- Infection is possible causing severe pain.
- The retina can detach. If so you’ll need an operation to reattach it.
- The membrane holding the lens in place may give way during surgery. If so this will also require a second operation.
- Your cornea can become water logged and this too needs another operation.
- Your macula can become swollen.
- The pressure in your eye can increase.
- You can lose your eye.
- This is not a complete list, just the more common possibilities.
“Right, that’s it I’m going home”, I thought, and said so to my wife. She persuaded me to stay.
They certainly cover their bums. No doubt if you happen to walk into a glass door on the way out, this would not be their fault either.
So reluctantly I signed up and asked the doctor what comedian had written the risks document. He didn’t know.
Anyhow I had paid $40 for a taxi to get to the hospital and I also had the return fare to consider so I was under pressure to sign up. Not allowed to drive of course.
The only real disappointment was the actual operation. With the first I was assured that I was not getting a general anaesthetic just something so that I would feel “unconcerned”.
Turned out that I was so unconcerned that I couldn’t remember a thing about it. All I can recall is being hooked up to a drip followed by the nurse asking me how I was feeling now it was all over. I was feeling great.
As it turns out I now have two very efficient eyes. They work perfectly.
I can even read without glasses although it is more comfortable reading with just low powered magnifying glasses, the cheap ones.
I was very lucky that the first operation went so smoothly because I had no hesitation in going for the second the following week.
Unfortunately, it did not go quite so smoothly at the start.
Afterwards I was very conscious that the left side of my face was completely frozen; a bit like after an anaesthetic injection in the gum from the dentist.
This wasn’t the case with the previous eye operation, not that I remembered.
When the anaesthetic wore off, well it was as though there was a piece of grit, the size of a brick, on the surface of my eye.
I knew not to rub my eye and there was nothing I could do to relieve it. I took three Panadol, went to bed, and eventually fell asleep.
It was perfectly fine the next morning. I now have near perfect vision.
They were all terrific at the hospital, the doctors, the nurses and all support staff. I am very grateful that we have such a fantastic health service.