Well, after a quick post-op today (at the 6 day point for the second eye), I’m 20/20 on the left and 20/25 on the right.  Pretty good.

I saw the surgeon briefly and he said I should read as much as possible and force my brain to learn how to see the images it’s getting.  The right eye is still blurry but should improve during the week and then it’s just a matter of practicing; kind of like how you have to flex a new knee joint after a replacement surgery. 

Things are pretty sharp at 12 inches but anything else is blurry.  He said that my zone of focus will enlarge with time.  Pretty crazy how the brain can figure all that out.

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My eyesight has never been good for as long as I can remember but it’s always been correctable to perfection.  So I know what the world is supposed to look like – nice and sharp.

I guess that’s why I’m so impatient right now; I’ve made an investment in the sort of lens implants that allow me to focus at infinity and also up close at reading distances.  That’s something I haven’t been able to do without glasses in a very long time and even then not without the effort of carefully aiming the bifocals.  I’ve been very much looking forward to seeing well, particularly after having put up with a cataract on one side for quite awhile lately.

I realize it’s only been a bit over two days since my surgery but I want to see perfectly now.  On the left, I can see at infinity very well although perhaps not perfectly.  On the right, it’s still pretty blurry.  The left side can focus at about 12 inches but anything inside of that or outside of it out to about 15 feet is pretty blurry. 

I guess I just have to wait.  What’s annoying about my situation now is that there isn’t anything that will improve things.  I have no crutch like reading glasses – I just have to wait until the internal swelling or whatever it is settles down.

I’m still struck by how much more blue the world looks.  Everything that is white looks like something out of a Tide commercial.

Well that went just like the first.  I guess that was the idea.  I still have to say: it is indeed quick and painless but the recovery is always glossed over.  I was out of commission the entire day; thankfully, not due to nausea this time.  Living with my eye taped shut is very disorienting to me plus the eye muscles were sore as the anesthetic began to wear off. 

The next morning (Wednesday), my eye was still a bit dilated from the day before and so I was getting two different types of image inputs which again is kind of difficult to deal with.  I chose to stay home. 

When I got to the ophthalmologists office for my post-op, he told me that my intraocular pressure was “a tad high” in both eyes.  This worries me but he gave some eye drops with the instructions to use them twice a day and to come back on Monday (which I was going to do anyway).  I guess it isn’t all that big of a deal (yet) if it can be dealt with eye drops until Monday.

It’s still very difficult to read; the first eye will focus comfortably at about 12 inches but it’s hard for me to read with one in focus and one not so I still get tired of it after a few minutes and reading things on computer monitors and on my phone are especially irksome.  I certainly hope that will improve.  As far as driving goes, that is very good.  I was tested at 20/25 again but it seems better than that to me. 

Oddly enough, I can look through binoculars perfectly.  I can get both eyes to come into perfect focus so there’s hope that things will settle down to “normal”.

I have noticed that the world looks more blue to me.  The cataract is a natural yellow or brown color and this “colors” your perception of normal so today everything looks a lot more blueish than I’m used to.  I downloaded a spectral transmission chart for this lens (nerd stuff again) and it’s very flat over the visible spectrum so what I’m seeing now is obviously “normal”.

So that’s what life is like 8 days after the first one and 2 days after the second.  And I’ve used 4 days of PTO. 

I will never forgive the business world for getting rid of separate vacation and sick days and forcing us to “personal time off” for everything.  I can’t help thinking that I’m wasting vacation when I stay home sick or otherwise unable to work.  It was always a comfort to me to be able to put sick days into the bank and then know that if I was out for a significant length of time, I would be OK and would not have burned up all my vacation.  Bastards.

I had another post-op checkup this morning and my distance vision is 20/25 which is almost back to normal.  I don’t actually think my remaining “good” eye is any better than that without glasses so I’m doing pretty well.

I’m having trouble reading but the doctor says that once both eyes are the same, I will be able to read better.  As to focusing in close, that’s something that I have to work at for awhile (he didn’t say how long) and I should not use any reading glasses.  At least not yet. 

My brain will learn how to focus up close and in between so I just have to do a bit of therapy. That’s nothing official – that’s just my term for trying to read until my brain learns to interpret the new situation.

Next surgery is tomorrow morning – my head is already marked with the doctor’s initials.  I hope this one does not lead to the horrible nausea of last time.

Well, that was interesting.

I had my cataract removed from my left eye and the implant put in.  That all went perfectly according to the surgeon.  Then I got sick from the anesthetic and the day went downhill from there.

I think I may have contributed to this.  You’re not supposed to have anything to eat or drink from midnight on before a surgery.  In fact, I hadn’t really had anything to eat or drink since about 6:00 pm (dinner) so I was pretty hungry and thirsty to begin with.  Plus I had a pile-driving headache from the lack of coffee so there’s that.  I was also told back when they first scheduled this that since I am relatively young and in good health, I would probably be the last one to have the surgery since all the older people with diabetes and other issues are scheduled first so that they won’t have to go as long without their meals.  So it turned out; I was called in at about 10:30. I could tell who the other cataract patients were since we all had the surgeon’s initials scrawled on our heads with a marker.  Apparently this is standard practice to ensure they operate on the correct side.

Except for the headache though, everything went well.  I was a bit nervous but not excessively so.  I was taken into a pre-op area where a series of nurses got me ready.  I knew that anesthetic could make you forget things so I was extra vigilant about trying to remember things.  The nurses names were Arminda, Shondra, and Mai.  I have no idea if the spelling is correct but they seem right when you sound them out.  Arminda tried valiantly to get a needle into my vein for anesthesia but had a terrible time of it.  That was the first indication of my dehydration.  She managed it eventually and apologized profusely.  She warned of an impending bruise because of her efforts but there was none.  I’m not sure why they put you out for this but it was only for five minutes or so while they gave me a shot to numb the eye area (and about half my head besides).  After this I just waited for it to take effect and then it was off to the OR.

When I got into the OR, imagine my surprise to find somebody I knew.  I heard a voice: “Greg! I thought the name looked familiar!  It’s me, Julie!”  I couldn’t really tell since she was masked and had a cap – all I saw were eyes so she helped me out with some more info.  Turns out she’s in our small group at church and our daughters were BFFs in high school.  I was a bit of a comfort to know someone but I’m always a bit uneasy when I meet somebody I know in the context of health care.  I don’t fancy the notion of any of my friends seeing me unconscious or perhaps without my clothes on but in this case, you keep all your clothes on so it was a non – issue.

The surgeon came in and got straight to work.  He’s normally a friendly guy – much like a car salesman – but in surgery, he’s all business and quick besides.  His comments became intelligible mumblings to his nurse assistant but since you’re awake for these procedures I could see (sort of) what was going on.  I don’t know if it was because of the numbing or not but I could see light and dark but no real images.  I could see what looked like the outline of things but only if they were in motion.  Anytime anyone moved, I could see something like an impressionistic pencil drawing of them but as soon as they got still, they faded out.  Interesting how the brain works that way.  I recall the scene in “Jurassic Park” where the scientist said dinosaurs only saw motion.  Anyway…

I could see shadows of the instruments he was using as he wiped them back and forth and it was over in about 10 minutes.  He said that “that was a tough one” but in the end it came out “perfect”.  So that was that – Julie had me sit in a wheelchair and took me out to Melissa who was waiting.  On the way, we stopped at another OR to see her husband Jeff who I also know.  So it’s like old home week in the hospital.

We drove away from there to the nearest restaurant.  I wasn’t terribly hungry and was feeling a bit uneasy but ate anyway.  We went on home where Mel dropped me off and then went to the dentist for her scheduled cleaning.  While she was gone, I started feeling queasy and soon thereafter got totally sick.  I had to run to the bathroom and proceeded to puke my guts out.   At that point some coworkers called to see how I was doing.  Like an idiot, I answered the phone (I had heard them start to leave a message on the machine – yes, we still have an answering machine) and talked to them for a bit.  Then I hung up quickly and returned to the toilet for another session of worship at the porcelain altar.  This is bad news for people who have had eye surgery so I called the doctors number and told them.  They said come straight back.

Mel arrived back about that time so we headed back up to the doctor’s office.  I made the trip OK although I was feeling pretty poorly.  They measured my intraocular pressure and determined it to be OK (after having removed the tape on my eye).  They gave me some anti-nausea cream to rub on my wrists and sent me home with some more of it.  On the way home I got the nausea again and proceeded to puke into a sack I had brought along.  I was soon “out of ammo” but kept dry-heaving.  This was something new: nausea for the sake of nausea itself.  Before I had only thrown up when my body needed to get rid of something but this was something else.  Finally the medication kicked in.  It had the saving grace of making me sleepy so I went home for a nap.  From then on, I could not stand up without getting dizzy and nauseous again.  I used the rest of the medication and just stayed in bed. 

I think part of the problem was that I was still dehydrated (from all the puking) and hadn’t eaten anything in about 24 hours.  At least nothing that I had been able to keep down.  When I got up the next day I was dizzy and nauseous again but I think it was from lack of nutrition and water.  After drinking some juice, water, and simple food like toast, I started feeling better and spent the remainder of the morning just drinking water.  That was the ticket; I never got dizzy or sick again.  I called in to work and cancelled a business trip that I had scheduled since I was told that most people get on with their lives the day after.  I guess I would have if I had hydrated myself correctly although I still may have had that anti-anesthetic reaction.  I hope that good hydration will help me avoid this next week during my second procedure.

I went for my post-op the day after and was told that my eye is doing great.  It looks like I’ve been in a bar fight since my eyelids are swollen and my eyeball is bloodshot but they say it’s fine and my vision is now better than most people show up with the day after lens replacement.  I’m happy about that although I’m still getting used to it.  I popped out the left-hand lens of my glasses so that I can still use the portion of my glasses that I use to read.  While there, I asked the ophthalmologist if he could explain how this multi-focal lens implant works.  He said “No. I have no idea.”  I have to admire his honesty – I guess he just installs them, he doesn’t design them.

So, now I just wait for the swelling to subside and see how thing stabilize while I await the next procedure.

Lens replacement is tomorrow.  I’m excited about it – looking out through my left eye has been like looking through a dense fog for weeks now.  I’m looking forward to getting rid of that little ‘soft focus’ effect.

I guess I just want to know more about how things work.  Clearly I have more detailed questions that the average person who is going in for lens replacement.

I have two simple questions:

1)      How hard is the lens in the average person’s eye?

2)      What does the Tecnis IOL look like?  As in – show me a detailed photo.

It’s a bit tricky to ask the doctor. He is busy and has a very carefully scripted thing he tells all patients and he leaves little time for questions beyond the superficial.  And when your time’s up, man it’s up.  Out you go to see the cashier.

As to the first question, that seems a simple question but Google has proven unhelpful.  There are a few medical journals that have that sort of thing in papers but those are behind paywalls.  I personally have dissected eyeballs but they were not human, they were from long-dead animals, and they had been soaked in formaldehyde for a long time.  Any of those reasons would have accounted for the yellow, rock-hard nature of the lens.  I want to know how squishy mine is right now.  No particular reason; I’m just curious.  I have asked at the doctor’s office (not the doctor because I forgot until he was gone) and nobody really knows; at least with enough certainty to tell me because apparently medical personnel must be certain and their answers must be traceable to a source.

Number 2 has yielded some good info.  The website of the manufacturer has lots of technical gobbledygook which I loved but no actual photographs nor any details as to its manufacture.  Perhaps it’s still under patent or something.  The model they showed me at the doctor’s office was unique (it had a series of rings on a flat surface and so reminded me of a Fresnel lens but the website refers to it being a ‘diffractive lens design’)  and so I wanted to explore the physics of it but again, the doctors and nurses don’t really care about that stuff.  They care about whether it’s the right cure for me and how to get it in there.  Beyond that, they don’t care much.  I might be able to catch a glimpse before the procedure but my eyes are not working too well up close at the moment (hence the surgery) and I’ll be under a bit of anesthesia (more for the calming effect) and may not have the brain power to initiate such high level discussions.  In fact, I doubt it. 

I don’t care about being labeled a flaming nerd – in fact I rejoice in it.  It’s people like me that invented the lens implants to begin with.  But if you’re not in that community, it’s surprisingly hard to find the detailed data you want.