Cataract Surgery

Hi all. This is pretty much MPSIMS, but it is eye surgery.

I have a very fast developing cataract in my left eye. It’s been confirmed (two visits over 6 months), and I have pre-surgery consultation scheduled for July 5th. So far so good.

My left eye is like looking out of a very, very dirty pair of glasses. It’s certainly becoming a problem. Driving is OK, but won’t be for long. I’ve been driving the same route for 25 years. Don’t really need to read smaller street signs (Maple Ave). I’m a very cautious driver, and have never had an accident. I’m 57 years old.

My right eye is good. Work is tough as a computer programmer. I am a touch typist, but programming produces a lot of stuff that can contain unusual strings of characters. - Is that a {[)(}\ or | or !, a 3 or a 5. I joke that I should get an eye patch and just let my right eye do the work. But then I will need a sash, a sword and a parrot.

In all seriousness, my right eye is taking up the slack, and it’ clearly (heh) getting tiring.

Anywho, I plan on getting the multi-focal lens. I’m told that my eye will be able to focus it for near or far. This will be amazing if true. I’ve been wearing glasses since 2nd grade.

I have had radial Keratotomy (lasic) and that went great. So I’m not nervous about it. But it is surgery…

I will of course have my Wife drive me to and from surgery, and will take any needed time off (long weekend, woo hoo.)

Any anecdotes out there? It’s the most common surgery in the US, so I suspect a few on the SDMB has had it.

Had both eyes done a few years ago without issue. Immediate improvement to 20/20, which then degraded slightly. I opted out of the multi-focal lens, as there are too many stories out there of problems with them.

This year I noticed that things were getting cloudy again. My eye doctor told me that it happens in about 30% of people who get cataract surgery. The lens is fine, but the capsule gets foggy. I had a capsulotomy done on both eyes by laser, which took about five minutes total. Problem gone.

I had mixed success. Left eye was fine and I see better than I ever did, although there was one bout of post capsular opacification that was cleared in five minutes with a laser. But it was scary because I essentially have no useful central vision in the right eye. That surgery did not go well. The old lens disintegrated and the surgeon could not remove it all. I had to go back for a second op with a specialist (the first guy was an ophthalmological surgeon, but the second was a super specialist). At first it went well, but then I had a retinal tear. More surgery and it tore a second time. Yet more surgery, but this time an oil drop was left in to hold the retina in place. He could operate to remove the drop, but says that is likely to lead to the retina tearing again. So I am essentially seeing with one eye (although the peripheral vision is fine).

I’ll ask about both issues. Thanks for heads up. I have been looking at this, but do like anecdotes.

I had the option with lasic, to do one for close vision, and one for far. Seems odd to me, but I guess many are fine with it. I already do wear reading glasses. It would be very nice to have one eye that could focus close. Say when I forget my readers for something simple like a grocery store visit. I can’t really read anything with out reading glasses. Need a magnifier for say a medicine bottle. or fine instructions. But that is also a function of my recent cataract.

The very IDEA of going to 20/20 just in one eye, is stunning. Being able to read without glasses! (if I go with multi focal).

My history -

  • Glasses in 2nd grade.
  • Glasses always. Used those photochormic lenses that double as sunglasses for a long time. They used to take about 20 minutes to really change.
  • Contacts.
  • Then needed reading glasses.
  • Decided to get lasic so I could ditch the contacts. I’m about 20/30 in my right eye now. It’s was perfect distance vision to start with but my eyes have changed.
  • and now… Well I’m pretty excited about it. It sucks, but I’m pretty excited.

As I said, this is a very fast developing cataract. This is probably good. I suspect many people just slowly get used to it and adapt. Since it happened quickly, I really, really notice it. And I can really tell since it’s just in my left eye.

The optometrist said this kind (can’t remember the type) of cataract is often the result of a head injury when you where younger. I had a major one when I was 11 that required 130 stitches in my scalp/forhead to, well ,keep me from bleeding to death (it was a bit close I think). It sort of lines up.

I’m sorry to hear that for you. My cataract seems to has made my central vision very blurry, but my peripheral vision seems fine. Hard to tell. Don’t really read from the edge of the eye. This is one of the reasons that I still feel pretty good about driving. As long as I’m in a familiar place. And my right eye is fine.

My Mother (89yo) has Macular degeneration. The dry kind, but it is giving her problems. I have been taking her to her eye doc, but not much can be done. I do everything that I can to recommend options to help. Monster TV, adjust text sizes on computer and reading materials and such.

Marijuana tinctures under her tongue have kept migraines from MD at bay. It took a while to convince her to at least try it. MJ has really improved her life. Thank god we live in Colorado.

My father had bad cataracts. But tried to keep driving. We talked to him about it. He only went to the grocery store on slow residential roads. He said that he was fine. He just put his 4 way flashers on and drove slow. That was the end of the keys to his car. He did get them fixed and was very, very happy. But no more driving.

Subscribed — I’m 57 too and will need this surgery after having a torn retina 2 years ago. My retinal doc said it’ll likely be needed because of the the tear repair, and I’m seeing a serious degradation in my eyesight. Very annoying, especially since with eyeglasses my vision corrected to 20/15 — which was awesome! Alas, no more.

My surgery is not scheduled yet. For now I’ll follow along here.

enipla, I hope it goes well for you!

My mother got bad scarring and much worse vision. You’re only doing one eye, so you’ve still got your good eye if the bad one goes worse. (Don’t let them operate on the second eye if the first establishes a susceptibility to scarring).

I had pathological myopia (technically I stil do - my thin retinas can’t be cured), retinal degeneration (still do, guess) premature nuclear sclerotic cataracts in both eyes, and a posterior polar cataract in one eye. By my mid-50s, no glasses or catracts could give me anything remotely resembling reasonable vission.

I had OIL survery and it was a life-saver. Sometimes I look at my drivers’ license, which says “no restriction” (such as glasses, and I rejoice. The surgery can e really, really, rlally good.

Also following this thread. I have cataracts which don’t seem to be affecting my vision much (yet).

Oh yeah, also glaucoma and macular degeneration as well. The opthomologic hat trick.

Anyway, my doc says to just let him know when I want to get the surgery done. Not sure if I want to go ahead and do it, or wait until I ‘need’ it.

Anyone have input on the multi-focal option? I suspect it’s pricey.

Sadly, the surgery has no effect on the likelihood of producing an embarrassing number of typos.

I had my second eye done a week ago today and couldn’t be happier. The first was about a month earlier. I had ten percent vision on the first eye and 50 on the other. Again, I’m amazed that I waited for so long to do this, but I was friggin’ scared. They will cut into my EYE! ARGH!
But standard practice here is to get benzodiazepines and I’m happy for that. It didn’t hurt a bit, but I was scared stiff and was afraid of not being a good patient, i.e. not being able to relax and moving my eye around when I shouldn’t.

I opted for long vision, since I only needed reading glasses and those are two bucks each at the gas station. Glasses for driving would cost a bundle and since I’ve been using reading glasses for about twelve years, I’m used to the slight hassle.

DO NOT go out in bright daylight the day after surgery, without some kind of protection. Sunglasses will not be enough, so that patch might be a good investment.

I’m not sure yet how much the mult-focal will cost. My optometrist could not give me prices. I will find out on the pre-surgery consult. I don’t think it’s that much, and my insurance won’t cover it. I will report back.

And thanks everyone for your responses.

I have no experience with cataracts, beyond relatives who had the surgery and were thrilled with both the results and the relative comfort of the process.

But I do, after much research, have multi-focal contacts. What I found was that some people adjust quickly (me, thank goodness) and some with time, and some never do. The first day I was practically seeing double, and couldn’t concentrate on reading a book for a month or so. Crocheting had to be large threads; lacework was out of the question.

Given that the contacts exist, and most ophthalmologists have a supply of samples in office, it seems obvious to me that you should ask for some and try them out to see how your specific brain reacts. Even with your vision partially occluded, you should be able to get an idea as to whether it works for you.

When it came to glasses, I couldn’t hack tri-focals or progressive lenses at all. But these are great after a month of slow increase to wearing time.

I haven’t had it, but my landlady’s reaction after hers was to go through the house switching off the immense majority of the lamps. She went from not being able to tell the sun was shining (and man, in Miami, when it shines it bloody well shines) to seeing, well, normally. I’ve heard similar descriptions from my father’s brother and from several neighbors.

My mother’s cataracts can’t be operated yet and it’s a PITA, specially combined with hearing problems and avoidance of the hearing aids. Leaving the house with her is nerve wracking.

The regular lenses were $2500 each, but my insurance covered it. Even my regular ophthalmologist was not enthused about the multi-focal route. And 20-20 is not guaranteed at all. I can function without glasses, but prefer to just wear my mild prescription, particularly while driving.

Within a few hours of the surgery, the anesthetic wears off and you can remove the tape that holds your lid shut. It does take a bit to get used to the bright light and vivid colors, but sunglasses are plenty of protection.

The places that do eye surgery are all different. I’ve heard several versions of what happens for prep, even up to having an IV inserted, which is way overkill, IMO. For me, there were a series of numbing and dilating drops leading up to an actual injection in the inner part of the eyelid to deaden the optic nerve. That was the worst part, as nobody told me to expect that to happen. I was prepared for it with the second eye, so it wasn’t as bad, just very uncomfortable. I was fully awake for the surgery, although I did accept the mild relaxant beforehand. Your un-anesthetized eye is covered, and you can’t see anything out of the other one, so you just hear the noise of whatever they are using. Doesn’t take long.

Good idea. Thanks.

I’m building up some good questions to ask the doc/s

I’m the same age and had mine done a bit over a year ago. I believe the multi focus was over a thousand per eye extra that the insurance wouldn’t cover. I can buy a lot of readers at the drug store for that.

Indirect anecdote:

I know 7 people who have had cataracts removed. All went perfectly. As surgeries go, it has very good risk/benefit ratio.

As an added bonus, you will get to wear a patch of some sort for a little while. Maybe you could get a sash and a sword and just borrow a parrot :slight_smile:

Very timely thread, as I’m looking at (hah) having it done to one eye soon.

I noticed a year or so back that it seemed my left eye’s distance vision was maybe not as good as it should be. It’s my weaker eye anyway, but for example my right eye was maybe -2 diopters and the left was maybe -4, and I think had settled around -3.5 or even better,

I’d had an optometrist exame not mich more than a year earlier, and no issues. So I went to an ephthalmologist who said "cataracts!:,

I’m well-controlled type 2 diabetic, but apparently that’s what triggered this.

Doc said I did not, at that pointm “qualify” as she was able to get my vision to 20-20 with new glasses, though maybe I qualified because the two eyes were so different - certaibly it’s been tough to get used to the glases.

By 5 months later it had degraded another diopter but the doc was STILL in no hurry (me, on the other hand, I wanted it DONE).

Finally last week, the eye has gotten enough worse that I don’t think I could tolerate correction. So she wants to do the suirgery… only I tend to have higher-than-average eye pressure (thick corneas, no evidence of actual glaucoma) so she wants me on beta blocker drops for 8 weeks before proceeding. Ugh. Meantime I’m actually beginning to be aware of the haze in that eye especially if I’m tired.

Now, I go this with a bit of trepidation, as my mother had it done and died shortly thereafter. I suspect the preexisting lung cancer had more to do with it than the the surgery :D,

Doc said they normally do it with just numbing drops…but with my aversion to strong light (actually gets in the way of eye exams sometimes) she’d want me to have sedation.

Oh HELLLS yes. Ignoriing the “bright light” issue, I have to think it would be tough to do a successful surgery on me while I was running shrieking down the hall,

Do they really do this with no sedation at all??? That seems insane. Of course I’ve read that a large needle is involved to numb the optic nerve, and I sure as hell couldn’t deal with that.

Been thinking about the fancier lenses e.g. that deal with reading. Until I have the other eye done, it seems unnecessary since I can read with that eye.

Yeah. I suspect they will just tape gauze over my eye. How boring is that.