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Thistles and Roses

Regaining sight


“Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly”…. Mark 9:25.

This is definitely a good news column for me personally and for others who are the beneficiaries of modern cataract surgery. I feel like the blind man in the scripture!

This essay is for those who are thinking about cataract surgery, but aren’t so sure of what to expect.

I was not born blind, but I was extremely nearsighted. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Williams, informed my parents that I moved up front to see assignments on the blackboard in class, and she was concerned about my sight.

I was given an eye exam and glasses were prescribed. I could see well with them on. Everything was a blur with them off. I endured the teasing by classmates of being called “four eyes,” etc. Glasses frames were not so good in those days. I was constantly scratching the lenses and breaking the frames, which I taped up. It was a good day when my parents could afford new glasses, and like most people, the prescription was constantly changing.

From that time on, I had to wear corrective lenses (contacts were something of a miracle back then) in order to see. Corrective lenses were a requirement of my driver’s license. If I was given a ticket from a policeman, if I was wearing contacts, they would shine a flashlight in my eyes looking for the contacts.

In recent years, I noticed gradually, that even when I wore lenses, I was not seeing so well. In recent months, I admit it had gotten much worse. I went to an ophthalmologist who confirmed that I was in dire need of cataract surgery. I had been leery of such surgery but, Dr. Subir Bhatia assured me that it is a pretty simple surgery.

What I did not know is that there is a so-called “standard lens” and there are varieties of upgraded lenses. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normal lens and during the surgery, the lens of the cataract eye is removed. It is replaced by a new synthetic lens.  The standard lens may not correct all of a patient’s needs. I took the upgrade, and I am glad I did.

The catch is that private insurance and Medicare will not pay for the upgrades. For me, the upgrades were worth it, but each individual should discuss their particular needs with their doctor.

They do one eye at a time. It is outpatient surgery. You wear your street clothes. Unless there is a special circumstance, there is no general anesthesia. It is a local anesthesia, using drops. They do NOT stick a needle in your eye! I didn’t feel it at all. The doctor talked to me during the surgery.

The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. Dr. Bhatia put a patch on the operated eye, which he removed the next day at his office.

The miracle was, my sight was 20/20 in the operated eye as soon as the patch was removed.. After the second surgery, I had 20/20 in the other eye.

I now no longer have to wear glasses or contacts, The upgraded lenses correct vision such that I no longer need readers and it corrects my astigmatism. That is why I feel like the blind man from the Bible! It is a major quality of life improvement. So, if you have been hesitating about cataract surgery, make an appointment with a doctor and get a consultation. You too may experience a modern miracle!


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