Blind Man’s Bluff?

I’ m off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz …

Well, not exactly of Oz, but of the local eye clinic. And a whizz of a wiz he was indeed!

When you have had a cataract developing over a number of years, as I have, and it finally gets to the point where it’s a matter of have the operation or lose your driving licence, there isn’t really very much choice. A cataract diffuses the light, gives objects several outlines and makes them fuzzy, so that for instance the new moon looked like a bunch of bananas. It couldn’t go on like that. So I opted for the op.

What’s the big deal? You ask.  Cataract operations are routine …

The big deal is that just about ten years ago I went blithely along for cataract surgery in my left eye. It seemed to have gone well, but then BANG! Just a month later, my retina detached, like a curtain descending, tearing as it went. A not very pleasant procedure to repair the holes and stick the retina back into place, with a couple of weeks recovery time, and then WHOOSH! Flashing lights and off it went again. Four weeks to the day since the first detachment repair I was back on the operating table having my poor old eye fixed again. I won’t go into detail here, but if you want the gory details, YouTube has some graphic videos of vitrectomies and how to fit a scleral buckle. The upshot of the whole thing is that my left eye serves little purpose other than decorative.

So the reason I have procrastinated for so long over getting my second eye done can be summed up in one word: FEAR.

I do not want to trigger a retinal detachment in my one remaining good eye, or have to go through all that again, knowing that blindness is probably at the end of it. However, I gave myself a good talking to and prayed about it all, and in the end decided to go for it.

Naturally, nobody can guarantee anything, and although the consultant I saw at the pre-op assessment was very confidence-inspiring, when it came to signing the consent form there in black and white were the chances of things going wrong … I signed it anyway.

My dear granddaughter came to granny-sit, braving floods, rain, snow, rail disruptions and a barely existent bus service, culminating in premier-league football-match traffic that extended a journey which normally takes about 4 hours into almost 8 hours of caterpillar crawl interspersed with standing around in draughty, wet shelters. She arrived shivering with cold, wet, hungry, with a splitting headache and chilled to the bone but cheerful and prepared to do her bit.

And so I have now had my cataract removed and a new lens inserted, a fifteen-minute procedure by a very capable gentleman with an excellent reputation as a vitreoretinal specialist – just in case – who talked me through the whole thing: “Anaesthetic drops going in — just a bit of water now … it will feel slightly uncomfortable for a second … look up … look down … removing the cataract … relax … a bit more water … here comes the lens … look down … OK, you can sit up now.” Well, maybe not quite in that order, but the time did pass very quickly.

They slapped a padded guard over my eye, taped firmly to my face, and my pupil was still dilated when it was time to put in the eye drops so I wasn’t aware of any great change in my vision. The guard went back on overnight, but when I removed it the following morning, expecting things to be a bit blurred – WOW! All things bright and beautiful – what a dazzlingly clean world! Just for once, the sun was shining and the sky was bright blue, a bonus! Most of all, though, I was amazed at the clarity of everything. Although the world looked clean and bright before I got my cataract, I have always been  very short-sighted so without my glasses, everything was always out of focus. Now, I have suddenly become long-sighted: reading is slightly problematic, but I can see the face on the full moon for the very first time, and colours are suddenly much more intense.

I can’t help singing HALLELUJAH!

15 thoughts on “Blind Man’s Bluff?

  1. This capable gentleman must have done an excellent job. I am so happy for you that all went well this time. Peter is going to have this operation next month. It had been cancelled a few times and this after Peter has been very reluctant for years to have it done. But it has become absolutely necessary now!
    Kudos to your granddaughter! 🙂

  2. Wow. I’m so glad about the happy ending. Given your previous history, I can imagine the anxiety you felt. I’m glad you went through with it now, as I’m sure you are, but still a lot more nerve wracking for you than I would have liked. Happy driving, and reading and all the other pleasures of sight 🙂

  3. HALLELUJAH is right! I went through my mother’s cataract surgery several years ago, and watching the process on a private monitor in the next room made me appreciate how much she needed the surgery. Now she has mostly peripheral vision, but it’s better than before.
    We’ll hope your eye continues to heal well!

    • Sorry i missed this comment Marylin. I don’t think I would want to watch the procedure being done on a person i love, but I admit to having watched a YouTube video out of curiosity. Thank you for your good wishes.

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