Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I Can See Clearly Now...well, kinda.

On Wednesday, August 10th I had my first cataract surgery, which brought quite a few changes to my visual world.  As a visual artist, this is both exciting and a little unsettling.

My eyes are (were) minus 9 diopters, which means I've lived in a sort of Mr. Magoo-world since I was six years old and got my first pair of glasses. But, Wednesday, through the miracle of modern technology, my right-eye became -2.25 diopters in the space of about 10 minutes, which means I can see very clearly out to about 3 feet with that eye, and kind of OK into infinity.  That is amazing to me since my previous visual clarity without glasses only went out about 6 inches.  Beyond that, my world was a murky swirl of hazy colors, which even in the familiar landscape of my own home, was often confounding.  It is quite miraculous to wake up in the morning now, open my new bionic eye and see the bedside clock, my sweet husband's face, and even kind of make out the trees and weather outside our window without glasses!

Right after the surgery, my brain went kind of crazy trying to reconcile the 6.75 diopter difference between the surgical eye and the 90-pound weakling eye.  I felt seasick and like I was walking with one leg in a ditch.  I was mentally telling myself to just put on my big-girl pants and tough it out the next two weeks until my other eye got the surgical refit.  Fortunately, my eye doc took pity on me, and gave me a contact lens for the old eye, which helped level the playing field...literally.  The contact lens is not at my exact prescription and doesn't have an astigmatism correction, but it closes the gap between the new and old eye, and helps get my leg out of that dang ditch!  It's a temporary fix, because in two weeks the other eye will get it's own little surgical miracle.

What I learned about my eyes this past month:
Even though I've had these same eyes my whole life, I did not know that minus 9 diopters is an XXL myopic prescription.  I also didn't know I that have unusually large eyeballs.  An average eye length is 24 millimeters.  At 28 millimeters, I'm again in the XXL realm.  I never wondered WHY I was myopic, and nobody in all these years ever thought to tell me...but there it is: Long eyeballs! 

My quarter-inch thick old friends.

I discovered my old coke-bottle lenses shrunk everything--well, I guess I knew that, but never really thought about it.  Turns out my glasses were a bit like looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars.  The first thing I noticed when the eye patch came off my bionic eye?  My legs are a lot shorter than I thought, and my feet are big as air mattresses!  I can't yet tell the difference between a teaspoon or tablespoon without comparing them to each other--they both look big as cereal bowls, and my depth perception is off enough that I can't seem to get through a doorway without running into the door jam.

Cataracts filter your world through a warm, soft, sepia colored lens.  With my new unfiltered bionic eye I can see that my house is not as clean as I thought, and I've discovered how WRINKLED I am. Pre-surgery, without my glassess, I could only see my face VERY close up, which meant I was only looking at a couple square inches of facial real estate.  With my glasses on, if I stepped back enough to see my whole face, my glasses shrunk everything and my cataracts filtered out a LOT of detail.  But now, I can see the whole naked truth: I'm as shriveled up as one of those apple-head dolls.  

I haven't been bold enough to look at my art pieces yet, because I already know some of the colors aren't going to be what I imagined, and I fear they may look a lot rougher and less finished than I intended.  So I've left them rolled up in bags for now--you can only take so many shocks in one week!

Meanwhile, I'm sort of housebound, since I don't have legal vision for driving, and I can't run or do CrossFit for a month, which makes me a little restless, and I'm still kind of seasick.  Howard's been his usual wonderful self--going to all my appointments with me, chauffuering me around like I'm some kind of royalty, reading to me, and listening to me whine.   After the second surgery, I'll have near perfect close-up vision.  Then I'll have to wait almost a month (til Sept 22) to get refracted for glasses, and another week for the glass to come, at which time, I will finally have distance vision (yay!).  I'll then be legal to drive, and roam at will in the big wide world.  It's all good.  It's just a process that takes a little patience--and, no surprise here, patience is not one of my strong suits!

1 comment:

  1. Cataract surgery was like a miracle! I kept boring Brud - hey look that bird has feathers, hey look there are needles on that tree, etc. Enjoy! Linda Brown your doc?