So Then This Strange Thing Happened

by wjw on August 8, 2020

Cataract-surgery-IndiaAs I mentioned in a reply to a previous post, my eye surgery went very well.

It had, however, an unanticipated consequence.  (I’m getting used to unanticipated consequences where medical procedures are concerned.)

When I had cataract surgery in my left eye in 2014, I asked for a closeup lens.  I’d worn monovision contact lenses for years, and then had monovision Lasik, with the left eye adapted for reading, and the dominant right for distance vision, and I knew that monovision worked for me.

(And why do they call it monovision, by the way?  It should be duovision, no?  Because each eye produces a different image which is then blended in the brain with the other?)

When I was being prepped for surgery, I kept asking if they were providing the correct lens.  My questions were met with indifference on the part of the staff, and the surgery featured a lot of bright light and pain and people yelling at me for being an imperfect subject.

Somehow I was not surprised when the eye turned out 20/20 (or 6/6 for those of you in the metric world).  I figured the doc or someone in the office had fucked up and given me the wrong lens.  Yet though I made my annoyance plain, it seemed churlish to complain too loudly when given 20/20 vision.  In followup visits, both the surgeon and my own optometrist said the new lens was seated perfectly, so I resigned myself to having perfect vision in one eye at least.

I also vowed never to see that surgeon again, and got some reading glasses.

Anyway, six years later, I began to experience occasional “rains of pepper” in that eye, meaning hundreds of tiny black dots falling through my vision, and then back in January I had a hurricane of pepper, such that my vision was seriously compromised.  Examination revealed that the lens had escaped its “capsule,” and was bumping around knocking into blood vessels and causing hemorrhages— not eyesight-endangering hemorrhages, but bad enough.  Surgery was scheduled for April, but the state went into lockdown, with no voluntary surgeries happening.

I finally had the surgery on July 27, and was told it had gone well.  Dr. O. frankly admitted that he didn’t know what procedure he’d follow until he opened up my eye and saw what was in there— he could adjust the lens, or he could replace it.

In the end he discovered that my lens had migrated off in the direction of my nose, and was being held there by scar tissue.  He decided to just shift it where it belonged, and he says it’s likely there will be no problems.  (If not, we go through this all again.)

For the first week the vision in my left eye was too blurry to draw any conclusions, but in the last few days the fog has cleared, and y’know what?  It’s a closeup eye now.  I can read very well with it, though distance vision is a little blurry.  I now have the monovision I wanted in 2014.

Turns out the first surgeon had used the correct lens after all, he’d just installed it in the wrong place.  It only took six years for anyone to figure that out.  At least I had good distance vision in that time.

Any more problems, I go see Dr. O again.  He at least seems to know where the lens is supposed to go.

Etaoin Shrdlu August 9, 2020 at 10:15 am

I dunno why you’d trust him, last time you saw him he stuck a knife in your eye!

John Appel August 10, 2020 at 8:53 am

Good grief, Walter. Glad you’ve got a resolution finally. Hope you continue to have a smooth recovery and all’s good with your vision in the end.

pixlaw August 10, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Etaoin, better a knife than a fork, right?

Etaoin Shrdlu August 11, 2020 at 12:58 am

He’s not done yet!

I’m curious, was the good distance vision because the lens wasn’t even in the path of the light, or was it pushed back or too far forward, or was it just a little off to the side but still in the path? I would have assumed that everything would just be a total blur if it were out of place.

TBQPH I don’t know how you put up with it for six years. I thought I remembered you posting an eyepatch picture just a couple of years ago.

Unrelated thought (such as it is): I’ve read that post-cataract-surgery the new lens means you can see into the UV, which is normally absorbed by the biological lens, which then gets damaged and goes opaque due to absorption of UV . . . a pity nature didn’t evolve UV-transparent plastic lenses, but then maybe we’d need retina replacements after fifty years or so, and that ain’t gonna happen any time soon. :-/

Etaoin Shrdlu August 11, 2020 at 1:02 am

Why do I feel like I’m becoming Walter Sobchak after rereading what I wrote above? Also, let’s not forget — let’s NOT forget, Dude — that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic — you know, within the city — that ain’t legal neither.

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