Out, out, damned cataract!


Sorry about the title, I was a drama geek at school and I am generally a bit of a Lady McBeth. Well, I saw the eye surgeon on Monday. Doesn’t it worry you when a surgeon seems excited about a case? I have a subcapsular cataract which can develop dramatically quickly, sometimes in a few weeks but in my case over a year. He was astonished at how little I could see with my left eye and said, “Haven’t you noticed flaring in your left eye?” My response was that I had only noticed it since my first diagnosis, a week before. It isn’t the normal ageing cataract but can sometimes be caused by diabetes or steroid use. My father and grandmother had diabetes but I have no sign of it, nor have I been taking steroids. I also have a pinguecula, which is a benign growth on eye and we agreed that both may be caused by UV damage. Blue eyes are especially sensitive when living in the subtropics for as long as we have. There is a possibility that the Lasik surgery I had 11 years ago may have also caused it. Now I can hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “It doesn’t come from our side of the family!” For some reason she was always very upset that I didn’t have 20/20 vision – perhaps because I had to cover up my baby blues with thick glasses.

The very highly recommended eye surgeon told me far too much about exactly what he was going to do, statistics and gross stuff. This was only mitigated by him having a strong Chinese accent – he is from Hong Kong originally. He is a fascinating guy – originally he was a mechanical engineer and then studied medicine. As my regular eye doctor pointed out, it is his fascination with technology and detail that makes him a gifted surgeon. When I was in the waiting room, I noticed that most of his patients were elderly which is to be expected. They looked like regular down home folks and I wondered how on earth they understood anything he said? Most Texans struggle with my accent, which is very well enunciated, by the way… Perhaps it’s a blessing that they didn’t hear the gross stuff like how he breaks down the cataract with a laser and then suctions it all out. With a teeny, tiny Dyson, maybe?

Then he will put in an acrylic lens and with a bit of luck, I will have perfect vision in that eye until I die. I might die just thinking about it – relax, I jest! I was assured by his technical detail – he took endless measurements and wanted to know precisely at what angle I held my laptop to get the best end result. With good luck my previous eye doctor still had the records of my eye prescription pre and post Lasik which will help further. My real concern was cost but United Healthcare will cover both him and the clinic where the operation is performed. We still have to pay a substantial sum of money but if we lived in Scotland I would be on a long waiting list and probably have to go private anyway.

He noticed that I was fit and told me that I couldn’t do strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks. I looked at him quizzically and he said, “No boxing”. People these days are just crazy. If it’s not Zumba, it’s kick-boxing. That’s okay if you are a youngster but walking is good enough for the rest of us. BTW, Osyth, I will be awake for the surgery! Now I am kind of excited that if all goes well I won’t even have to wear middle-aged reading glasses.

♫ You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you ♫