Cataract Surgery Update And Smith Optics Giveaway

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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 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
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11 thoughts on “Cataract Surgery Update And Smith Optics Giveaway

  1. Louis,
    I fell asleep three times during the cataract removal/ lens implant procedure on the second eye. Just keep using the drops.

  2. Louis you’ll be OK. I know many old folk down here in Fl. who have had cataract surgery, because there’s lots of seniors here, including me. Aging causes cataracts, some say the ultra violet radiation from the sun causes cataracts and there’s lots of it down here, so wear the sunglasses as you say. Both my wife and I have some cataracts but not bad enough yet for surgery. I can tell you this, I had a friend who had a detached retina twice for no reason at all, except it runs in his family. The second time he had to go through 3 needles in the eye while he was awake, and I cringed at the procedure. This is very serious and you can lose your eyesight, however, he is OK now, so they’ve come a long way in both cataract and detached retina surgery, so Good Luck.

  3. Well written, Louis. Your experience is similar to mine. I’m a month out from my second eye procedure and could’t be more pleased. One thing that helped during my good eye/bad eye interim was to pop a lens out of my old glasses so I had corrected vision in my “old” eye awaiting surgery. It made things a lot easier and most people didn’t even notice. I’m now 20/20 in both eyes. I’m headed to Belize in April, bonefish look out!

  4. I had my left eye done about two years ago. It was great for about a year, then I started getting blur again in that eye. The condition, according to the American Optometric Association is called posterior capsular opacification (PCO). Up to 50 percent of cataract surgery patients experience this problem. The condition is remedied using a laser and is an out patient procedure that only takes about 5 minutes. Just thought you’d like to know.

  5. Glad it’s going well! I just developed “floaters” in my right eye and I’m not loving the adaptation to this new visual reality. But I guess it could be much, much worse.

  6. Great, the experience you have shared here. The eye is an important part of our body. Yes, goggles helps us every situation like while driving, fishing, swimming and other cases. Here you shared full info about fishing goggles which are helpfull for everyone…..

  7. I had both eyes done a few years back. I too opted for the multi focal lenses. I can now see like I did as a kid! I have 20/20 vision. My depth perception is great which was really important to me as a fly fisher. It took a few months for my eyes to adjust and work together and I saw halos around lights. Driving at night was bothersome because of the halos but night driving glasses helped a lot. I did develop PCO in one eye last year but the procedure to fix it was no big deal. Good luck with your new eyes. I feel it has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

  8. I had mine done a few years back and I have had amazing results. My vision is 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other. Colors are better than ever.
    But, most important is I can now look across the river and am able to distinguish the sex of mayflies, and watch them doing the ….well you know.
    Kidding of course but the technology today is fantastic.

  9. Louis, Thanks for sharing. I had the operations last year(age 73) and all went well. Unfortunately, they could not correct my stigmatism with the new lenses so I still wear glasses, just like before but I see clearer!

  10. Louis, glad to hear your eye is healing correctly. I am facing the same surgery down the road. I always enjoy reading your newsletter. I live in Miami and fish back country for Snook, Tarpon, etc. My wife and I travel to Maine for a few weeks each year to fly fish for Stripers. Take care.

  11. Be careful about possible long term “negative side effects.” I suffered a detached retina in my master eye about a year after my cataract surgery. Years of being near- sighted, and then the cataract surgery itself…”it actually vibrates loose the old lens and the cataract” that can tear/loosen the retina.

    My optometrist confirms this is what happened, and it is never told to prospective cataract patients…unless you ask. This Dr was the one who referred me for the surgery. No Dr will badmouth another

    Re-attaching retina has taken 2 surgeries and about 12 months recovery. Eyesight in damaged eye has been “restored ” to 20/40 with correction, and will always be slightly distorted.

    The new normal…however, if I hadn’t had cataract surgery, best corrective lenses could do is 20/60…but it would only get worse, leading to blindness.

    My left eye suffered tears from to the retina from the cataract surgery, also showing up a year later. These were corrected with a laser procedure. But I have a couple small floaters because of it (Ask your Dr about floaters) that nothing can be done about, even though the tested vision at distance is 20/15…but I need reading glasses for anything inside arm’s length.

    Consider carefully. Research carefully. Ask the Dr.

    Religiously go to your follow up visits…that way any retinal tears may be spotted before a detachment happens.

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