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Sep 20, 2020, 06:00 PM
Modeling Retread
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Iím a Little Apprehensiv About Cataract Surgery


Iím scheduled for cataract surgery tomorrow. I know itís routine, done thousands of times a day, but Iím still nervous. Itís going to be on my right eye. My, by far, dominate eye. My left eye also has a cataract but starting with it would have been useless. Iím worried because a mistake could leave me functionally blind. (For a while, the eye doctors have always told me that should I loose vision in my right eye, my brain would make my lazy eye shape up. Not something I want to experience.) The problem is, my cataract is getting progressively worse and starting to have significant impact on day to day business and hobby activities.

Whatís the experience? Iíll share some so you can consider the signs. I have acute glaucoma so I have to see the eye doctor routinely, so I knew this was coming well before I had vision issues. If youíre eyes are others healthy, it might sneak up on you. As my right eye cataract grew, I started having a continuous feeling my glasses were dirty. Sometimes they were but cleaning them never really fixed the problem for my right eye. One of my fellow RC club members stated it very well, he said ďItís like looking through a dirty window.Ē Now there are obvious drop out spots that seem dimmer, until I close my left eye and they just become blurs.

My left eye has a shift in color vision. I can tell if Iím looking at something brightly lit with my right eye closed. What appears white with both eyes looks yellow with just my left eye. At night, all the lights have starbursts around them, not as bad as when dilated but noticeable.

What are the consequences? A simple one is how much harder it is to deal with the computer. I lay a bunch of this off on the Microsoft Office graphic designers that insist on everything being some form of pastel. Gray or blue letters on a not quite white backpack in Outlook and gray lines and subdued chart colors in Excel being at the top of my list. For the last year, or more, Iíve been unable to see anything but the main roads and highways on Google maps.

Model aviation wise itís gotten progressively worse. Itís become harder and harder keep a good visual contact on my planes. Fortunately, Iíve always preferred to fly closer in and lower so that helped. I was completely shook up last month when my brightly colored OSMW Javelin disappeared on me in mid flight. Fortunately, I was the only one flying, my hearing is still good and I could locate it and re-acquire visual contact before it crashed. (I had to fly several low speed laps before I calmed down enough to land.) A week or so later I smacked in and broke an EFLITE Pitts on landing. I think it was an unexpected gust but it might have gone into my blind spot.

One funny thing during this prep effort. The doc gave me a Prokera eye treatment. Itís an amniotic membrane placed over my cornea to help start a repair process to smooth out the surface aging. With it in, I was effectively blind for two days. I could read my photos about 6Ē from my left and watch YouTube videos on my iPad. Before the doc took it out, they checked my vision again. My left worked as expected. When she asked what line I could read with my right I said I couldnít even see the white box in which they project the letters.

I canít not do this. Iím sure it will be fine.
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Sep 20, 2020, 07:31 PM
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My experience


George,

My experience with cataract surgery was very positive. I actually hadn't really noticed much degradation before my eye doctor suggested that I consider the surgery. Like you, I have a condition, diabetes, that requires annual eye exams. I have been lucky to not have any eyesight complications due to diabetes.

When I finally went ahead with the surgery, my wife having had cataract surgery a couple of years prior to mine, I was given the option to have one eye corrected for distant vision and one for near vision. For modeling and other activities that didn't seem like a good idea. I was offered another option, which I took up, correcting my astigmatism. With that done, I don't need any glasses for distance viewing, and drug store readers are sufficient for my reading needs. I have also found a source for safety glasses, both clear and tinted for sunglasses, that include a bifocal reader section.

One benefit of the astigmatism correction is I can look through telescopes and field glasses. Most telescope eyepieces do not have sufficient eye relief to allow me to view them with my glasses on. So a'I I ever saw was a blurry ellipse if I tried looking at, say, Saturn, through a telescope. After the surgery, I stopped at the MacDonald observatory at Fort Davis, TX while driving from Bellingham to San Antonio. I could not get enough of looking through the various telescopes that were set up to view the moon, deep space objects, and Saturn.

I wish you a speedy recovery.

Dave
Sep 20, 2020, 11:09 PM
Modeling Retread
Thread OP
Thanks Dave. I’ve opted for astigmatism correction too. Plus the uptown laser operation that includes a computerized scan of my eye to optimize the new lens. An extra $2400 but it’s my good eye. SwRI insurance pays for the basic surgery, no deductible just the $250 surgery copay. However when the doc explained the differences in dealing with this dense cataract (which in my head sounded like we’ll take a pick axe to that thing or do something modern), I opted for the top shelf approach.
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Sep 27, 2020, 11:49 AM
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Cataract surgery


George,
I had cataract surgery in 2019, mid summer.
I too was apprehensive at first, but had it done at Ft Wayne Oprthamology, in Ft Wayne Indiana, near where I live.
Am I ever happy I did!
A buudy told me beforehand that you 'll be amazed at the difference.
I opted for the long distance lensese since I am also a private pilot.
The doctor only did one eye at a time, going back a week laterfor the second.
It only took him about 20 minutes at the most, and as he finished, he asked me to look around the room.
Oh WOW !!! he had done my right eye,and I could immediately make things out , like the second hand on the wall clock, and some of the small
signage in the room.
They gave me a small pill before the operation to relax me, no anesthetic.
I went back a week later for my left eye, and again, what a difference!!!
I have to wear reading glasses to read a newspaper or book, but I can see things at a distance I could never see before!!!
Both times it was absolutely painless, no discomfort whatsoever!!!

Medicare paid all but the the extra $1,000 per eye for the long distance lens implants.
But for $2,000 I had my almost 20/20 eyesight restored!!!
To me it was worth every penny!

I am retired and was 68 years old when I had it done.
The only requirement they insisted on was that I have someone to drive me home afterward.
So my neighbor did that for me.

A couple weeks later, when I went in for my post-op checkup, I had a special pair of sunglasses eyewear made , cost me $158, but gives me perfect 20/20 in both eyes, and I wear them while driving in bright sunshine and also when flying my RC models.
But I don't have to wear glasses everyday anymore for normal vision. Colors are so much more vivid also!

But while driving, I can see street signs way off in the distance perfectly!
And when flying full scale aircraft I can see airplanes way off in the distance and see runway numbers, and markings when I'm on final approach at t 2,000 feet and over 3 miles from the runway!!!
While flying my RC airplanes, I can make out colors,, numbers and see at a distance sooo much better!!!!

If anyone reading this is considering cataract eye surgery, go for it!!
It's a piece of cake!

If you are 65 or older, Medicare takes care of almost all of it, if not all of it!
If you live near Ft Wayne Indiana, I highly recommend Ft Wayne Opthamology!

They have done thousands of these surgeries.
Last edited by ErcoupeEd; Sep 27, 2020 at 11:59 AM.
Sep 28, 2020, 12:12 PM
Modeling Retread
Thread OP
Everything went really well. I can see much better now. My distance vision is now better uncorrected than corrected before and I no longer have dead zone on my right eye. In fact I only use glasses for close reading.

I did get to fly Saturday, in bad lighting conditions and had no problem keeping the airplane in full sight. I also watched a friend maiden a new plane and he was flying higher and farther than I personally care for but I could still see it clearly.
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Sep 28, 2020, 10:53 PM
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ErcoupeEd's Avatar
Glad to hear this George!
Like you, I only need reading glasses for up close reading!
I wore corrective lenses since 1972.
I can't remember how many times I misplaced them, or broke them!
Or they fogged up on me.
That's all in the past now!
And there was nothing to the operation. Lasted maybe 20 minutes for each eye.
No pain, no discomfort, and I can see much better with uncorrected vision than I could with corrected vision!

They gave me a plastic patch to wear over the eye I had worked on at night, took it off in the morning when I got up.

The difference in my vision is amazing!


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