TOM’S CATARACT SURGERY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Recently, Tom’s cataracts started to give him problems driving at night. He began seeing large halos around the headlights of the oncoming cars, which made driving a challenge. He went to the eye doctor who told Tom that his cataracts were ‘ripe’ and it was time to get cataract surgery in both eyes.

Now, no one looks forward to someone slicing and dicing their eyeballs, but Tom was borderline phobic about anyone touching his eyes. We had two close friends who had recently had the surgery and they both reassured Tom that they had felt nothing during the procedure and little if any discomfort afterward.

Tom listened to them but didn’t believe them on some level. So he procrastinated about scheduling the surgery – and procrastinated, and procrastinated.

When he finally scheduled it, he didn’t feel good about it. He worried more and more as the surgery date drew near and he reached a peak of panic the sleepless night before D-Day. On the ride to the surgery center, as well as in the waiting room, Tom kept repeating that he really didn’t want to do this. I began to worry that he might make a run for it.

Of course, Tom had to wait endlessly at the doctor’s office before he was finally taken in for the seven-minute procedure. So by the time he saw the doctor, his blood pressure must have been off the charts. Fortunately, along with buckets of numbing drops, they gave him some ‘good drugs’ to relax him.

I waited anxiously in the waiting room for an hour before he came out the other end. During that time, I saw a veritable parade of post-surgery patients, smiling in their identical pairs of unfashionable sunglasses. I relaxed as I realized that no one seemed freaked out or even stressed.

So I was not surprised when Tom reappeared, gushing about what a weird but not unpleasant experience it had been. As he had been told, he felt nothing but water being pumped into his eye. He saw strange lights and heard psychedelic music, which made it all feel like a mini acid trip.

Tom in his ‘cataract sunglasses’

Fresh out of surgery, his eye was blurry and totally dilated, and he felt like he had a grain of sand in his eye, but he could already tell how much better his vision was. Everything was brighter and clearer, especially colors. Tom said it was as if he had been looking at the world through a yellow filter and suddenly now he was seeing everything in vibrant, living color.

We bumped into an old friend in the waiting room who was coming in for the same surgery. Tom went on and on about how awesome his vision was now and told his friend not to worry but to get ready to be amazed at how colorful and sharp the world is.

By the next day the dilation was gone and even though only one eye was fixed, Tom’s vision was dramatically improved. He no longer needed his glasses for distance vision but will still permanently need reading glasses. Not a big deal. He also could see that our sunroom was painted bright blue, not green or teal.  And he was telling everyone what a miracle he had just experienced!

Tom seeing great without his glasses for the first time in decades

Now Tom can’t wait for the second surgery!

17 thoughts on “TOM’S CATARACT SURGERY – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

  1. I had cataract surgery a couple of years ago. I was concerned — my previous experience was memories from when I was little and my mother’s elderly friends were hospitalized with patches on their eyes for a week after surgery. By the evening of the first surgery day, I no longer feared the second surgery. I also had a skin cancer removed from one eyelid (between cataract surgeries), and even that went better than I had expected! It all turned out to be almost miraculous!

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    1. It’s amazing how the technology has advanced in this area! Our eye doctor, with the surgeon, has done over 100,000 cataract surgeries and there is rarely a problem.

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    1. Beyond smoothly! It’s barely even uncomfortable. And you see the results immediately! It just gets better each day afterwards. Tom can’t wait for his second surgery so his eyes will be the same again.

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  2. This is reassuring because my eye doctor has been monitoring me for cataracts in one eye. The idea of someone coming straight at my eye scares the living daylights out of me.

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    1. That was Tom’s phobia too! He just couldn’t believe that it wouldn’t be traumatic having a laser poking at his eyeball. But he felt nothing but water being poured into his eye.

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    1. I had the surgery nine of ten (?) years ago and am thrilled. Marilyn calls it my “fighter pilot” eyes. I can drive without glasses, watch TV without glasses, even see the crawls. The doctor encouraged me to wear glasses while watching TV when I asked if I kept my vision “sharp” by not wearing glasses. After the passing years (?), “the fighter pilot” vision isn’t quite as sharp but I can still see very well. I need reading glasses for ALL closeup stuff, including labels when shopping. I am HAPPY with the cataract surgery!

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      1. I’m happy with the surgery too, Garry. I have the distance nailed but, like you the close up requires cheaters (and those cheaters cost only $1. or $2 at Dollarama.

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        1. How do you keep from losing the cheaters all the time? Tom would be using them all the time, but when he took them off, they would invariably disappear. He can’t keep track of his phone and he is tied to it with an umbilical cord.

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          1. Like Marilyn says ~ ~ ~ I still need glasses for driving, and occasionally for reading and/or TV/computer. I’m considering getting a second pair to keep in the car — I often run around the house without, then get to the car and don’t have them!

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          2. I have tons of them all over the house. I buy the cheap ones so it’s no big deal. They don’t last forever but there are alway more at the Dollar store.

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      2. tom can see distance without glasses now too but will need glasses for reading. He reads so much and does so much computer work, he’s deciding between getting bifocals or using the cheaters. He’s afraid he’ll just keep losing the cheaters taking them off all the time. He’s also considering those half glasses, like Ben Franklin had.

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        1. Garry has bifocals, but he also has the most useful glasses in the world: COMPUTER glasses. You can read with them too, but they are designed for middle vision which is mostly what you use on the computer. I wear mine all the time unless we are driving because my distance glasses let me see signs far ahead. But the computer glasses let me read the GPS or directions and are overall, much more useful.

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    2. I wish Tom hadn’t put it off for so long. He still insisted on driving at night but it was a bit harrowing for me. But it’s been such a positive experience. It really is a scientific miracle!

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