Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Cataract Surgery...A Very Sad Saga
One way and another, Eyes have been to the forefront of discussion lately with me. Even The Skin Man politely enquired about my recent eye surgery as he menaced above me with his gadget that dispenses icy and agonising horror to oust alien skin blemishes. When I finished telling him and he had stopped looking slightly bored he said cheerfully, `Well, if something like that’s going to happen, you can be sure it will be to a doctor’s family.’ Then he added, `He probably feels worse than you, and there I had to agree with him. Later I told The Husband that the overall level of interest from friends, family and those considering eye surgery themselves, deserved a blog update and he murmured something but didn’t look up from his book which probably meant that he wanted to take a break from the subject. So, further to my initial post on Sunday 2nd October 2016 (See: A Very Nearly Uneventful Case of Cataract Surgery….) the situation four months on is that things have definitely not progressed as well as I had hoped. Vision for reading and computer work is now greatly improved but vision for driving (my greatest concern), watching TV, navigating the aisles in the supermarket and even seeing across a room is definitely not good at all. The Eye Man calls it a Refractive Surprise which makes it sound almost like something from a restaurant dessert menu. He explained that this particularly unhappy Surprise is an outcome for only a small percentage of patients and added that it certainly renders my distance vision as `less than ideal’ to which I could only enthusiastically agree. The problem seems to lie with my Axial Lengths and The Eye Man has shrewdly noted (and I can’t help wishing he had noted this earlier in the saga but there again perhaps I am just being picky) that these are on the short side. This shortness coupled with something called the Intraocular Power of the particular lens used being moderately high, has resulted in an outcome that neither of us wanted and The Eye Man is just as upset by this as I am. Correction: his level of distress probably outstrips my own judging by the manner in which our previously cosy relationship has crumbled. His acute disappointment on my first post-operative visit at the end of last year has been compounded further by the fact that he has more recently discovered a second quite separate problem that also only applies to a small percentage of unfortunates. It involves something called Clouding of the Capsules which I cannot say I altogether understand and did not like to enquire needlessly for clarification on account of the level of The Eye Man’s obvious pain concerning my case. I just tried to give him as much support as possible during what is clearly a harrowing time for him but it’s not easy because he has rapidly gone from smiling, charming and chatty to scowling, indifferent and distant and when he can bring himself to speak, I even thought I detected a note or two of hostility. On the other hand that might simply be my inbuilt paranoia. The Husband is wont to remind me forcibly and frequently that I do have a tendency towards obsessive distrust in some matters. To solve the problem of the initial Surprise (regarding Refraction) The Eye Man was at first going to insert a further lens that he assured me would correct the error. That was immediately cheering! A week or two later he seemed to have abandoned that plan and instead arranged for me to see his friend over the road, John The Optician. A contact lens in the offending eye was the new plan until Stability took place. John, happily far less hampered by disappointment in my plight than The Eye Man, said that if I preferred it, old fashioned glasses for driving could be organised and even be tinted for glare. I did prefer it. So there the matter rested until The Eye Man and I met once again recently. Over the summer break the glasses worked reasonably well for driving, and also for TV watching if I remembered to bring them up from the car. However, I believed this to be an interim measure and all in all I was very much looking forward to seeing The Eye Man once again, confidently expecting he would perhaps suggest laser correction similar to that he offered to a friend who had surgery on the same day with a similar sad result. She also had mid distance problems for which his prompt laser surgery seemed to work wonderfully well. I’m not sure about the Length of her Axials of course and my own unfortunate Shortness in this regard might mean that this particular fix is just not feasible for me. On all this, I determined to consult The Eye Man’s expertise and experience. Sadly, in the event he was clearly too distressed for in depth discussion on the matter, and I could not bring myself to heap more problems upon him Nevertheless, despite his obvious angst he did valiantly manage to remind me a fair number of times that I had been warned about all the possible negative side effects of cataract surgery and that some people simply fell into those Small Percentage Categories and that furthermore I had made Choices on the basis of the information he had helpfully provided. He used the word Choices a good deal. He also reminded me that I could now see well enough for reading and if I actually needed to drive I had the glasses from John the Optician. He pointed out that it had been my Choice to turn down what he now called The Contact Lens Trial. This sounded significant so despite misgivings I did summon up the courage to say (as gently as possible) that John The Optician seemed to be of the opinion that whether I chose the Contact Lens or the Glasses was beside the point because the outcome would be the same. As John was clearly the expert in this respect I decided to believe him and simply made another Choice. The Eye Man had his back to me now, silent once again and observing his computer screen. I rashly took the opportunity to ask a question pertaining to the whole unhappy business of my surgery. Would I have had a happier result perhaps if something more simple than the ultra-complex and costly Symphony Lens had been used? He answered at once `No, not at all,’ he said decisively and turned to look hard and meaningfully at me, adding, `You made that Choice remember – just as you made the Choice about the Contact Lens Trial’ and I began to imagine that his tone was slightly ominous. This was clearly no time to burden him further and after all, this wasn’t All About Me. To be fair, just before I left he did tell me that if laser treatment was found to be necessary in the future, when things had Settled, he could in fact actually do it for me if I wanted him to OR I could have it done through the Public Hospital System. The good news is that he plans to see me again in one year. I’m really hopeful that he will be feeling far less fragile by then; and if not, then there’s always the Public Hospital System isn’t there?