Cataract Surgery for the Faint of Heart

My wife and I have both had Cataract Surgery. We were both over the age of 60 and our Doctor (Primary Care Provider) referred us to an Eye center to have our eyes checked. The specialist dilated our eyes and ran various tests. The tests checked our eyesight and the condition of our eyes (internally.) As a result, each of us was diagnosed with Cataracts at that time. We viewed a video about cataracts and how they can be removed by surgery. Being Faint of Heart (when it comes to medical pictures), my wife didn’t watch too much of the video.

Some Cataract Facts

  1. The lens in the eyes is normally clear until around the age of 40. Around that time the proteins in the lens start to break down and clump together. This creates a cloudy area which is the cataract.
  2. Age causes most cataracts, Cataracts may be the result of an eye injury. or after eye surgery for a different problem
  3. Surgery is the recommended treatment for advanced cataracts.
  4. Even Santa may have Cataracts!

Cataract Symptoms

  1. Vision is cloudy or blurry
  2. Colors look faded
  3. Lights or headlights seem too bright at night or have halos around them
  4. You can’t see well at night

Types of Cataract Surgery

There are two common types of surgery. One type has surgery done manually by a Surgeon. The Surgeon will split the lens using hand instruments and remove the cloudy lens. The surgeon inserts a new lens into the eye. Various eye drops help heal and protect the surgery.

The other Cataract surgery is a Laser-assisted surgery. The Laser accurately splits the lens cover. Then the Cataract is removed. This is what my wife decided to have for her surgery. Even with Medicare, it was an expensive operation (as far as our budget was concerned.) We did go ahead and have one of her eyes done. It was the one with the worst cloudy lens. Being Faint of Heart, she backed out one time. The problem the Cataract was causing with her vision caused her to eventually go through with it.

Her Cataract Surgery

Prior to the surgery, there is a regimen of eye drops to prepare the eye. On the day of the surgery we went to a Surgery Center across town. They scheduled patients with Diabetes early in the day, but since my wife wasn’t Diabetic, we weren’t scheduled too early. She went led to a “staging” area. An anesthesiologist started an IV to put her in a “dream” state. After being in the “Dream” state, she went into the operating area and the procedure went well. Post-surgery, she put another round of eye drops in her eye for about three weeks. Then a follow-up visit to check for any problems. She was quite happy with the process and decided to have the other eye done.

My Cataract Surgery

I had an eye exam done at the VA center and they confirmed I had Cataracts that had progressed from the last exam there. I went to an eye surgeon referred by the VA. My eyes were dilated and I was given tests like my wife’s. My right eye was the worst and a definite candidate for Cataract surgery. Unfortunately, my right eye has a couple of other issues. I have Macular Pucker and Astigmatism. Astigmatism could be corrected by inserting a special lens. Since this was out of my budget, so I opted out of surgery at that time. I found out I could have the surgery without the special lens. Astigmatism could be corrected with glasses. I went ahead with the surgery.

Similar to my wife’s surgery, I had a regimen of drops before the surgery. It seemed I had fewer days to instill drops, but I wasn’t going to complain about that. I went to a Surgery Center (not the same as my wife’s. ) I was then taken into the “prep” area and had to remove some clothing and cover my shoes and hair.

After a short time, I was taken to the operating room. I got on the operating “bed”. I was then strapped onto the bed. The Anesthesiologist put me in the “dream” state. , The surgeon went to work and surgery was done (without a Laser.) The eye drops they put in my eyes and the “Dream” state worked well. There was no pain and very little discomfort. Everything went well and after a short recovery period, I was given instructions and dark glasses and released.

Our results were great

Overall, neither of us had problems other than our faint-of-heart issues. The difference was quite noticeable after my first surgery. The left eye had a cataract, but I hadn’t noticed it. When I looked at one of the lights in our kitchen, my left eye appeared cloudy, compared to my right which had the surgery. I had surgery on my left eye and don’t even wear glasses, yet. The following and above facts are from the National Eye Institute (NIH).

Protect your eyes from Cataracts.

  1. Protect your eyes from the sun. Wear sunglasses and wear a hat with a brim that blocks the sun.
  2. Use protective eyewear when using power tools or playing sports where eye injuries are possible.
  3. Quit smoking.
  4. Eat healthy choices like fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains

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