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Tuesday, 06 September 2011

I Can See Clearly Now

By Claire Jean

I’ve been wearing glasses since my 20s. There was never any real problem. You go to the eye doctor, everything is the same or, if it isn’t, you get a new prescription. That is until you reach your 40th birthday and are told you need bifocals.

You then reach the age of computers and are told you need computer glasses.

Finally, your optometrist recommends that you change to something called progressive glasses. Progressives allows your prescribed eye strengths needed for reading, computer work and distance to be incorporated into one pair of glasses. Much more convenient, but I could never again back out of a parking space with those triple-sighted lenses.

I don’t recall the exact age at which seeing properly, even with glasses, became a concern although the deterioration was, no doubt, gradual and constant.

Around age 65, I began dreading the time change when it started to get dark earlier. I wasn’t fond of driving on bright sunny days either. I had to make changes to and from work. On sun-drenched days, I drove in the direction where the traffic lights decided for me when to move. When leaving work after dark, I avoided the main highway where I would have to merge with the oncoming traffic.

It was not surprising to hear that cataract surgery would be the next step. My new eye doctor (prior one retired) operates out of his own facility which he shares with a partner. However, my insurance would not cover the procedure being done there. Fortunately, he is able to perform surgery one day out of each month at a local hospital in which my insurance will support.

My right eye was done in July; the left eye in August. The entire time from start to finish for each took about three hours. This represents registration at the front desk of the hospital, looking over and making any corrections on the admission’s form, paying the deductible of $274.00 (unexpected/lucky to have credit card on hand), to finally being wheeled to the car that will take you home.

Everything went along rather smoothly until the patch was removed from my left eye revealing a bruise that extended from the top of my eye down to the middle of my face. This was surprising, especially since nothing unusual occurred the first time.

I’m not clear as to why this happened. What I do know for certain though is that if you want to set off incredible sympathetic stares at every turn, a black eye is a sure way to do it.

Needless to say, I did not go out much during the month of August unless sunglasses were appropriate. It’s been almost one month now since the last procedure was performed and, with a little cover up, the bruising is hardly noticeable.

The most amazing revelation from all of this is the realization of how poor my eyesight really was and how clearly I can see now. I no longer need glasses for distance and only some help for reading and computer work. Nothing is blurred and, to my surprise, the soft beige colored hand towels in my bathroom are actually white.

Conclusion: A cataract operation is well worth the massive amounts and combinations of eye drops before, during and after the procedure, several visits to the doctor’s office, and even the unexpected occasional black eye.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I absolutely hate having anything near my eye...can't even use eye makeup.

Last year my optometrist (who can barely get the drops in my eyes during my checkups)advised me that I have the very beginnings of a cataract in my right eye.

I tried to read this and see how positive you were about the surgery...I really tried.

I am just beginning the cataract process, Claire Jean and I am so happy that you wrote this.

Hoping that all goes well at a pre op exam next Monday,I expect the surgery on my left eye will take place the following Tuesday.

With the exception of a black eye,I hope I make out as well as you did.

Thanks for telling us your experience.

Claire Jean - Who says we can't get younger?!

When I turned 70, I took up yoga. Now parts of me bend that haven't bent for years.

A couple of years ago I had cataract surgery and everything brightened and cleared. (It was as if I had been watching the world through a filthy brownish glass window.) My nuisance bifocals are gone, and I only need "drug store" readers for menus in dimly lit restaurants. - Sandy

Amen, I don't even need glasses at all anymore, as I have something called monovision. One of the eyes is for distance and one for near, and somehow my very clever brain arranges all of this. My doctor said it is not for everyone, but it sure is neat. Good luck to all of you and you will be sooo happy.

Well once again Elder Storytellers works their magic..Late last year I was told I would be needing cataract removed..when I asked when, the doc said, you will know, just give me a call..Since then I am amazed at how many folks our age do require them & most everyone was giving pretty standard replies to my questions about the how, what, how long you are gropping (sp) around after, etc...Sad to say two men, one I know long time and another I sort of know through a friend talked about their operations in public..both gave kind of scary rundown on actual procedure, and since then I am just lurching all over about having it, not having it...like one of above, I am having hard time, esp reading newspaper and doing my puzzle books..Great lighting helps, but too blurry for most part...I am usually a "tough guy" about facing up, but afraid that my fright will bollix (sp) up whole procedure..both gents, by the way, were back driving, etc the next few days..it was sort of like listening to women and their baby deliveries when I was pregnant the first time..sometimes information, esp. TMI, is bad thing, at least for me...thanks for all the cheering on..I'll let you know when it's done...bless your buttons for sharing your tales...

I tried the technique that Joanne mentions a long time ago with regular contact lenses and was not successful with it. Probably my fault for not waiting long enough.

Then I tried Bi Focal contacts and they were not suitable for my eyes either.

Now, my Doctor has suggested "Multifocus" lenses be put in my eye at the cataract surgery.She seems to think that with that lens I will not need glasses at all.

But,I am apprehensive about getting multifocus because I didn't do well with them before and am now concerned about having them put in my eyes now.

Like Sandy,I do not mind "Readers" from the drug store so have turned down the multifocus in favor of the regular lens.

Does anyone have any advice or experience with the Multifocus?

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