Seeing just fine: Wally looks back on cataract surgery

News-DemocratMarch 17, 2014 


A doctor once told me that there are two types of people -- those who have had cataract surgery and those who will.

I have joined the ranks of the former.

My ophthalmologist had been watching my cataracts develop for several years and always said they hadn't progressed much -- until January when he advised me to have them removed.

Since I'll do almost anything for a column, I agreed. Besides, the clouding of my lens wasn't a good thing for me.

I had one cataract removed and a new lens implanted in January. The second surgery was last Friday.

It's an interesting thing, having your cataracts removed. So many people have undergone the procedure that is has become streamlined.

My wife, a registered nurse, remembers taking care of cataract patients back when they had to stay in the hospital for several days with their head immobilized with sandbags to prevent movement.

Now? I was in and out of the Belleville Surgery Center in less than two hours last week. It's not a hard procedure for a patient.

After receiving about 10 eye drops and an IV connecting hub, I was wheeled into surgery where I got a little anesthetic and drifted off into the twilight.

The surgery took about 20 minutes. It's not quite drive-by yet, but it's not far away, a doctor told me.

I remember vague snatches of the procedure, like some bright colored lights and once, when the surgeon asked me to quit moving my eye. I also remember my forehead itching.

I think that is probably when the surgeon told the anesthesiologist to hit me again.

Afterwards, I went out for lunch. Then I went home and slept the afternoon.

I have several eye drops that have to be spaced out through the day. A doctor told me that was the main reason why they don't do both eyes at once. One eye at a time works best for aftercare.

Personally, I think it's because if they accidentally poke out your eye, they still have one to work with. But I'm a cynic.

I thought of so many witty things to say during the procedure. I wanted to make sure the surgeon knew I had sent my check for the last surgery. I was awake enough to think it, but not to say it. Probably just as well.

I was back at work the next day.

I get to wear those old man sunglasses that cover your entire face, although to be fair, women wear them as well.

All the people were nice. Everything is going well. It's been a breeze.

Now colors are more vivid and judging from its new brightness, I assume the sun must be going nova.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email:

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