By Louis Cahill
I’m half way through the process of replacing my eye’s natural lenses and doing well. Here’s an update and a fun way for you to win a pair of Smith Optics fishing glasses.
First, let me say thanks for all of the well wishes I’v received from friends and readers. It’s been awfully nice hearing from all of you and knowing you’re pulling for me. Thanks you!
If you are not into the update, just scroll down to the contest.
My hope in writing about my experience with cataract surgery is to help inform those of you who might be considering it. Hopefully it will help you know what to expect and maybe make a more informed decision about your eye care. I’m not a doctor or an expert, just a guy going through a pretty common procedure thats a little frightening and mysterious.
I talked to a lot of people who have had interocular lens replacement before I decided to have it done. Having made my living as a photographer my whole life, I was extremely nervous about it. The procedure is not without risk and it’s not a decision to take lightly. I was pretty unhappy about how my vision was effecting my fly fishing and my photography, but after a couple of close calls driving, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. Thank God it is a problem with a solution.
Once I decided to have the surgery, the first step was choosing a doctor. I talked to a lot of folks who’d had the surgery and a couple of names kept coming up. I googled each doctor and read reviews, then talked to a couple. It was important to me to find a doctor I felt I connected with. I was very impressed with Dr Trevor Woodham. I met with him twice before moving forward and he was extremely patient. We talked in depth about how I use my eyes, including more than he probably wanted to know about bonefishing. He helped me choose lenses I’d be happy with.
I had never thought about having options for my new lenses.
I’m glad I took the time to understand the differences. I chose a very nice accommodating lens, designed to focus like natural lenses. They were expensive and not covered by insurance, and it was a short term sacrifice paying for them, but I wasn’t about to go cheap on my eyes.
The procedure is said to have a 98% success rate. I don’t like odds, not where surgery is involved, and I quickly thought about all of the times I’ve been in the 2% in my life. After doing some research, it seems that 98% figure might be misleading. I now think of it as a 2% chance that something might go wrong. Some of those somethings are worse than others and many are fixable. It seems that the chances of something catastrophic happening are more like one in several thousand. That made me feel better.
The procedure itself was a surreal experience. Dr Woodham operates without anesthesia. I wasn’t immediately convinced that was a positive. Anesthesia is, however, the highest risk part of the procedure. The only thing that could actually kill you, though that would be very rare. My eye was numbed completely and the procedure was completely painless. I was completely awake and able to watch the whole thing. I could see the surgical instruments inside my eye and that was truly bizarre. Dr Woodham was great about keeping me informed about what to expect and the surgical staff were amazing at seeing to my every need and keeping me calm. A healthy dose of valium helped as well.
I was very nervous about the procedure but having done it once, I’m not concerned about having the second eye done. I was a little surprised that the procedure is done by hand. I expected some kind of industrial magic, but no. It wasn’t unlike a trip to the dentist. I was very impressed at how quick and precise Dr Woodhams work was. It all felt very controlled. If you are considering having this surgery, and are afraid of the process itself, don’t be. It was much easier than I expected. Find a good doctor and you’ll be fine.
The recovery has been easier than I expected too.
At least less painful. There has been some irritation and discomfort but nothing I’d call real pain. I do believe that taking care to following the doctor’s instruction makes a big difference. There are medicated drops to be used four times a day and wetting drops to be used frequently. There are some restrictions on exercise and water, and of course, no pressure on the eye. No rubbing. I was given a clear eye shield to wear when sleeping and I picked up some goggles for the shower. It’s a good look.
Here’s the fun part. Grab this image of me in my shower goggles and have some fun in Photoshop. The funniest image wins the creator a new pair of Smith fishing glasses. Have as much fun as you like, at my expense, but the image has to be something we can publish, so keep it decent. Email a jpeg to firstname.lastname@example.org. 1500 pixels on the longest dimension is ideal. We’ll announce the winner Feb 28th. Good luck, I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
The winner gets these Smith Outback glasses with ChromaPop Bronze lenses. A $169 value. The fish will have nowhere to hide.
I couldn’t see much with my new eye for the first couple of days. Once it started coming online, I was amazed. I’ve worn glasses my whole life and have never had as sharp a vision as I’m now getting with my new lens. It comes and goes, for now, and and I do have some halo effect at night,for now, but I make progress every day and am feeling very positive about it.
The biggest challenge has been that my eyes do not play well together. I was warned about this and it should clear up when the other eye is done. For now, it’s a little disorienting. there is some dizziness and a little motion sickness at first. It will take a few months for my eyes to learn to focus the lenses up close so reading is difficult. Once both eyes are done, reading glasses will help.
That’s about all I have to report for now. Once the second eye is done, and I’ve fully recovered. I’ll write another update. I hope it’s helpful if you are considering cataract surgery.
P.S. Since this writing I have had my one week followup with the doctor. Everything is healing well and I now have 20/20 vision in my right eye.Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com email@example.com Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!