Friday, 29 March 2013

Eyes Right

Three days after I last posted, I had a cataract operation.  Phaco-emulsion, they call it - all done by ultrasound these days. You may remember from the dreaded dishwasher post that I had a cataract that had developed more quickly than the optician had expected. When I saw the Eye Consultant in the autumn - I see her regularly because I have a family history of glaucoma, so although I haven't thankfully, got that myself, they are keeping an eye on me, by means of annual photos of my eyes in September, and an appointment with the consultant in November - this, naturally, was discussed as well.

So I was referred for surgery - about a 2 month waiting list, I was told - and just after Christmas had the letter inviting me for a pre-op assessment appointment at the end of January. At the end of that appointment I was given a date for the actual op. of 7th March. Well, that was very pleasing, as I had just been to my folk-dance weekend in Eastbourne, which happens on the last weekend of each January, and the op. date was safely beyond the February folk-dance weekend in Worthing. 

On Monday 4th February - less than a week later - at 09:55, the phone rang. TMH answered, as I was not long out of the shower and still leisurely getting dressed. It was the Eye Unit: 'We've had a cancellation; can you get here for half past ten?' - and then, at my stunned silence: 'Well, quarter to eleven then?' Yes, I could, and still not feeling entirely real, I grabbed a cardigan and we drove down to the hospital, parked in their multi-storey car park, and were on Floor C as directed at 10:35. 

By one o'clock, after a short chat with the surgeon, several lots of eye drops, 15 minutes looking at the light in the operating theatre, and two slices of toast that they insisted I ate, I was home, all done, with a leaflet telling me about eye drops - two different types four times a day for 2 weeks, then one of them twice a day for another two weeks - and a shield over my eye that I was to remove the next day. No chance to get worried or worked up before The Day; no hanging around, no pain, no injections. The whole thing was over and done with before I had time to think about it.

Naturally I rationed my 'screen time' for a while, though my leaflet had told me I could read if it was comfortable to do so. I was a little disgruntled the afternoon of the operation day, as the nurse had told me I shouldn't put my contact lens in the eye that hadn't been done 'until tomorrow'. But when, the following day, I put that lens in, I didn't enjoy the sensation at all! Because my newly inserted left lens was allowing good middle-distance sight, I didn't need the [short-sighted] right eye to be corrected for distance at all! I wanted to be able to read, which without the contact lens, I found I was well able to do ... and to thread a needle, which is even more important  and something I hadn't been able to manage without reading glasses when wearing my contacts beforehand. 

So from having contact lenses that corrected my right eye for distance, and my left eye for reading - but not very small print - this is known as 'monovision' - I am now not using contacts in either eye, and my left eye is the distance one, and my right eye the reading one - which can manage very well with small print. This settled fairly quickly after the op. and happily has continued  so when I go for my post-op appointment next week, and am allowed to go to the opticians - which I have already booked for the end of the week, to be able to see the one I like, who only works there on a Friday - all I will need is a pair of glasses for theatre and driving. I've tried driving a short distance with my old spare glasses, but they are wrong for the left eye, and after a while it feels strained, so I'm eagerly waiting for next week when I can order the new ones. In the meantime, this miraculous op. has enabled me to enjoy seeing the weather out of the window as soon as I wake up, being able to recognise people across a room, and - because my astigmatism has also been partially corrected with the implanted lens - I am no longer getting the sensation that the nearside hedge or kerb is leaping out to get me when I'm being driven; which makes me a calmer passenger for TMH to chauffeur around!

I'm also saving over £20 a month because of no longer needing the lenses or their cleaning/storing solution. Pretty good result, don't you think?

Oh yes, and I went to the February Folk-dance weekend in Worthing, too!