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Looking good: cataract surgery oversharing report
Old 02-03-2015, 03:37 PM   #1
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Looking good: cataract surgery oversharing report

Yesterday I had the second of two (ha ha) eyes operated on for cataracts. Out with the old nature-made lens, in with the new Crystalens registered trademark: Crystalens for Cataract Surgery. I have no glaucoma or retinal issues.

I am (I guess "was" is more appropriate now) so nearsighted that I don't know if someone who started with fairly good vision would be as thrilled with the results as I am, but every morning I will be saying a thank-you prayer to St. Mary of the Cataracts for making this possible as I reach for glasses I no longer need before I realize I no longer need them (nb: my ophthalmologist had repeatedly told me over the years that I was not a candidate for laser correction, so that was off the table). It is almost impossible for me to separate the cataract removal results from the ability to see unaided for the first time in fifty years.

After deciding my deteriorating vision in my right eye was indeed due to cataracts rather than something else we've been monitoring, my ophthalmologist finally sent me to the doctor specializing in cataract surgery. I have used monovision in my contacts for a long time, but have been wearing glasses more and more. The vision in my right eye, which was the near-vision contact, had become so bad that I couldn't really read with it anyway. I decided to have both eyes corrected for distance and to wear lots of different supercute reading glasses when needed. Although the monovision had worked well for me in the past, I decided I wanted both eyes to be on the same page in terms of a permanent fix. One was corrected from -20 to -0.75 diopters (just shy of 20/20), the other from -15 to -0.50.

On December 15, the bad eye was taken care of. I could have had the second eye done two or three weeks later, but those pesky holidays fell in the interim and some travel on our part and the surgeon's pushed it back further until yesterday for the not-so-bad eye.

The first surgery was the easiest, mostly because the first anesthesiologist gave me a stronger dose of Versed, which didn't render me as sleepy as the colonoscopy dose, but kept me from being aware of much more than the brilliant light the doctor kept shining in my eye and a tiny bit of pulling and pressure. The doctor said the cataracts in that eye were very advanced and I think a little more difficult for her to take down. Yesterday's surgery was a little more unpleasant, partly because this time I could see all the prep from my now-repaired right eye, but mostly because the different anesthesiologist cut back the Versed to one-fourth the level from the first eye and I couldn't find my happy place to escape to. There was no actual pain (okay maybe just a little), but I could definitely feel much stuff going on. So anyone having this done, be sure you encourage maximum sedation--it might take fifteen minutes longer to recover from it afterward vs. the zero minutes it took me after the second surgery, but what's the rush. If I had the second experience first, I wouldn't have been so anxious to have the experience repeated.

In both cases a burqa-like drape covered me, with only the one eye visible, and little clippy clampy things kept the operable eye open for the procedure. Being so nearsighted in the operable eye each time once the burqa was applied, I really couldn't see the equipment other than the blinding light that the doctor assured me I would get used to (and indeed I did). Someone with better vision probably would see more of what surgical implements were being used (in that case, demand overexcessive sedation) and what was going on.

Because of the extreme dilation and the eye irrigation and ointments, it took maybe an hour (with lots of blinking) for me to start seeing well. Everything was immediately brighter and bluer (this would probably be true for the non-nearsighted patients too). The surgeries were both at 3:30 and by the evening I could watch television and read a book (with drugstore reading glasses). By the next morning it was awesome.

I wore a clear eyeshield until seeing the doctor the next morning, which I am to wear at night for a week. Three kinds of medications--a steroid, an antibiotic, and some magic ointment--to put into the eye several times daily this week, then only the steroid tapered off gradually for the next three weeks. There is a week of no lifting stuff and random other precautions that might put pressure on the eye but after that, everything should be back to normal. I see the surgeon again next week and then in three more weeks. She was extremely pleased at this morning's appointment and cleared me to drive.

So my results so far for the first eye are that I no longer have haloes around lights and glare at night, and a yellowish glaze covering everything--I think this result would be welcome by the non-nearsighted cataract patient. I see distances fabulously and can read up to about two feet away without reading glasses. I hope and expect the second eye will be the same.

We paid about $400 and insurance covered the rest for the first eye (I think the bill before adjustments was around $5000), so the second should be about the same.

I couldn't be more pleased today.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:47 PM   #2
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I couldn't be more pleased today.
Happy to hear it has gone so well for you , Feever. The world is indeed a brighter place after the surgery.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:49 PM   #3
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Congratulations BWE!

I must admit, if ever I need a cataract removed I do NOT want to see any instruments coming at my eye. I will insist on general anesthesia. You are a brave woman!
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:54 PM   #4
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Your story is nearly identical to mine, although my myopia wasn't nearly as severe (only -7.5 and -6.5).

Yep, it's a whole new world. And we get to wear cool sunglasses as a bonus! (Mine are Oakleys).

My surgeries were nearly two years ago, and I still wake up delighted with myself.
Medicare/TFL paid for everything but about $50 worth of the preliminary eye drops.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for the extremely well written and (in my case) very timely report.

Saturday night due to an emergency I had to drive through some of the worst parts of New Orleans late at night, for 2-3 hours by myself. I was shocked to discover how bad my night vision has become. I hadn't driven at night for over a decade. I couldn't even read the street signs at well lit corners of major streets. And many of our streets have no functional street lights at all. Never again.

So, I think I will be needing cataract surgery before too long. My optometrist told me a year or two ago that my cataracts are growing. I am scared to death of the surgery so it helps to read your report.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:56 PM   #6
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Happy that all went so well for you. Your description reminds of pulling teeth. You're numbed so you don't feel any pain but you can see and hear all the grunts/etc that the dentist has to exert. Glad I missed all the action for the cataract part.............since my eyeballs were longer than normal, the doc wanted me out cold. Now I know what I missed and glad that I did miss it
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:56 PM   #7
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Your story is nearly identical to mine, although my myopia wasn't nearly as severe (only -7.5 and -6.5).

Yep, it's a whole new world. And we get to wear cool sunglasses as a bonus! (Mine are Oakleys).

My surgeries were nearly two years ago, and I still wake up delighted with myself.
Medicare/TFL paid for everything but about $50 worth of the preliminary eye drops.
I totally forgot about the cool sunglasses. We need to reallocate our retirement expenses
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
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Thank you for sharing your story on this. Hopefully I won't need it but if I ever do I'll be a lot less apprehensive about it.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:06 PM   #9
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I couldn't be more pleased today.
Wonderful!
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I think I will be needing cataract surgery before too long. My optometrist told me a year or two ago that my cataracts are growing. I am scared to death of the surgery so it helps to read your report.
Both my parents and my sister have had cataract surgery on both eyes, they could not be more thrilled with their results. Odds are overwhelming you will be thrilled as well, after a relatively short recovery period.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:17 PM   #10
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Congratulations on getting to toss your glasses ! I had surgery nine years ago and love being glasses free .
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:19 PM   #11
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Congratulations BWE!

I must admit, if ever I need a cataract removed I do NOT want to see any instruments coming at my eye. I will insist on general anesthesia. You are a brave woman!
Since I was an OR nurse I knew exactly what they were doing & the versed took care of my anxiety .
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:21 PM   #12
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Since I was an OR nurse I knew exactly what they were doing & the versed took care of my anxiety .
I would think your background would make the anxiety worse. You know what can go wrong.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:32 PM   #13
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I am developing cataracts relatively early, although there's no health reason, such as diabetes, for it. Possibly I have spent too much time outdoors. Night driving is becoming troublesome (oncoming headlights wash out the road markings) so it's just a matter of time.

One thing holding me back from cataract surgery is that I am only moderately nearsighted (-2.75, -2.50) and don't need reading glasses. I enjoy being able to read in bed without glasses or contacts; being able to thread a needle or find dropped stuff on the floor with naked eye. I don't like the idea of being thrown into mandatory reading glasses...that's why I never had laser surgery.

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Old 02-03-2015, 04:36 PM   #14
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Congratulations Feever! I'll join that conga line with ya...
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:23 PM   #15
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Welcome to the club.
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:36 PM   #16
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My story is nearly the same. I was extremely nearsighted (-12 and -10). I like to say I was blessed to have cataracts so early in my mid-50's. I no longer wear glasses. I can even read without them if necessary, but I do have reading glasses for extensive reading. It's a magical operation!


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Old 02-03-2015, 09:34 PM   #17
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I also had cataract surgery on both eyes about 7 years ago. I have been very nearsighted my entire life, and the vision after the surgery has been better than I have ever experienced.

About 3 years after the cataract surgery I had a detached retina in the eye that was always the most nearsighted. This is not uncommon with severely nearsighted eyes after cataract surgery because of the elongation of the eye.

Because I realized quickly what had happened, I had an in-office procedure that corrected the detached retina successfully, and have had excellent eyesight since. Just mentioning it as possibly something for which to keep "an eye out for."
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:36 PM   #18
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I also had cataract surgery on both eyes about 7 years ago. I have been very nearsighted my entire life, and the vision after the surgery has been better than I have ever experienced.

About 3 years after the cataract surgery I had a detached retina in the eye that was always the most nearsighted. This is not uncommon with severely nearsighted eyes after cataract surgery because of the elongation of the eye.

Because I realized quickly what had happened, I had an in-office procedure that corrected the detached retina successfully, and have had excellent eyesight since. Just mentioning it as possibly something for which to keep "an eye out for."
Thanks for bringing this up. The docs stressed that very nearsighted people are at higher risk for detached retinas and that it is a possible complication for us magoos after any eye surgery (they did not seem overly concerned but stressed getting to an emergency room if there are any symptoms). I do see a retinal specialist regularly to check.. So glad your detachment was repaired successfully.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:32 PM   #19
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Even with my Mr. Magoo eyes (glasses at age seven) I am glad no cataracts yet. I wore contacts from age 21 until age 49-50 when I started needing bifocals. I can still wear the contacts for activities such as skiing, but otherwise I prefer to read easily. I guess when I'm 75 and need the cataract surgery I will actually look forward to it!
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:50 AM   #20
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Needing cataract surgery in a year or two, I'm trying to decide whether I want local or general anesthesia. I actually had cataract surgery on one eye about 5 years ago with general anesthesia. While the surgery itself was easy, recent news stories on long term effects of general anesthesia have me reconsidering which way to go. Also, perhaps someone that went the local route can answer whether the following little annoyances in my previous surgery would also be required for local. They were: 1. No food or drink, not even water, after late on the night before surgery. 2. An IV, not an inhaled drug to knock me out. 3. I was required to go have a physical and get the physician to sign a document that I was fit for surgery. 4. The soonest surgery could be scheduled was about 4 months into the future.
Thanks in advance.

To the OP: Thanks for the detailed post. very helpful.
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