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Cataracts, anyone?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
 Made an appointment to see the cataract surgeon today. I'm actually looking forward to this, because I may be glasses-free for the first time in 62 years. The affected eye is my bad, 20-400 astigmatic one, and the other works well enough that I'll be able to get along without a corrrective lens for that one, except maybe for reading. I see from the web that implantable lenses are now multifocal, and there's even a focusable one that uses the eye muscles for close focusing (something I haven't been able to do for 20 years). My better eye  is good enough for computer screen reading without help, so I was thinking about having the second focus for my implant be for reading distance.

Needless to say, if I can ski without glasses I'll be very happy, even if I have to abandon many years' worth of defogging lore.

Any experience out there with these issues? Recovery time, etc?
post #2 of 5
It seems you are the starter here.
But I am sure that many here will be
interested to hear of your experience.
Many of us baby boomers are looking at
these choices soon!!
post #3 of 5
I'll echo LCS' post.  I have been told that cataract surgery is in my future.
post #4 of 5
I had the surgery 18 months ago. I'll offer my observations in detail. I am a 61 yr old active male with no known health problems that can't be controlled with a little Lipitor and Prilosec. I've worn glasses since grammar school. I tried contacts on two occasions. My vanity encouraged me to wear them about a decade the second time but finally the improved vision I got from glasses won out over the contacts. I do not recall my prescription but I was both nearsighted and had some astigmatism. My ophthalmologist watched the cataract for a while until they got bad enough to qualify for my insurance to pay for. I actually had only one eye with a cataract but the doctor said that after doing one eye because of the cataract the other eye would qualify for surgery because I would need both eyes fixed to be properly balanced. I listened and told them that I doubted that I would let someone operate on a perfectly good eye  but we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
I had the right eye corrected and the operation was amazing. My surgeon probably did 20 that morning. There were three operating rooms and a crew stayed busy cleaning them and prepping them. Patients were brought into a holding area with a half dozen LazyBoy loungers. The nurses doubled checked everything, marked the eye to be operated on and told us what was going to happen. Next an anesthesiologist started an IV drip. I was moved into an operating suite and paid attention to my watch. There was about 15 minutes between the last time I recall before the surgery and the first time I saw time upon revival. Improvement in vision was immediate.
My wife drove me home and I took the afternoon off to recover from the effects of the anesthesiology. I had some drops that I used a day or two since I had them but never really needed them.
Before the operation my ophthalmologist replaced one of the lenses in my glasses with plain glass. From day one I could see well with the repaired eye. No problem driving or playing golf. I wore the glasses most of the time in the office and for reading. I got headaches - just like the doctor predicted. The headache's due to the focal distance between the implanted lens in one eye and the plane of the glasses lens in the glasses you're wearing.
I moved from glasses to one contact lens and it solved the headache problem and I could see even better at most distances. It was the basic mono vision setup and I seemed to adapt to it easily. Back when I wore contacts I did not need bifocals so the mono-vision was a new thing for me.
I spent several weeks debating about setting both lens for distance vision or have the second one set for a more intermediate vision. The headaches I had with the glasses weighed heavily on my decision. I was concerned that maybe I really could not adjust to mono-vision without headaches. I was also concerned about my depth perception while skiing and golf with the monition so I opted for getting lenses in both eyes set for distance vision. One of the key reasons I went with both eyes corrected for distance was I thought it would be best for skiing and at least as good if not best for golf.
I have been very happy with the results but I'm sitting here with my new glasses to write this because I now need reading glasses. The one thing I wish I had done differently was to fully investigate the mono-vision process with contacts lenses before the surgery. Then if I was convinced I could ski, golf and read with mono-vision I'd have one eye set for distance and the other for a middle distance like computer screen distance. With that setup I could read a book or the paper in good light without resorting to reading glasses. I'd still need glasses for threading a needle and I'd probably use them for reading computer printouts or Russian novels but on a day to day - hour to hour basis I'd be glasses free.
One thing I've noticed since the surgery is the quality of my vision is sensitive to light. I can read a novel in the sun by the pool but I can't read most menus in a dark romantic restaurant.
Overall it was a good experience for me. It's not always 100% successful. A friend in my office with the same surgeon had complications that cost him half the vision in one of his eyes and he had already had a retina detachment on the other eye so it was a big deal to lose vision in his "good eye".
I did not give much consideration the multifocal lens. The doctors office seemed more concerned about the fact that insurance would not pay for the extra cost of the multifocal lens than to really educate me about the options. I do know from my reading that implantation of multifocals is a more complex procedure. Satisfaction with multifocals is slightly less than satisfaction with single focus lenses. Probably due to the complexity of the procedure.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
 Steve, thanks for the insight (no pun intended). Had my first meetingwith the surgeon today and he told me that with my retina problems I'm not a candidate for multifocals or Crystalens, so I'm resigned to reading glasses, but still looking forward to good distance vision. I'll keep ypu posted.
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