Monthly Archives: June 2016

LESSON # 35 – The Eyes Have It! Cataracts 101



ALONG WITH the aging of our bodies comes the joy of our eyes aging as well.  Woo Hoo!

The day after I turned 40…and this is absolutely true…I woke up needing reading glasses.  With ever increasing strengths  I was able to land the cutest reading glasses ever.  I loved the three pack for one low price too!  Red, purple, black…sweet.  It’s the little things in life that thrill me!

As everything in life my eyes progressively changed.  Hello prescription glasses.

Three years ago cataracts appeared but were very small.  No problem.  I was ok with it.  Not the end of the world.  No surgery needed for a while.

Fast forward three years to the present.  I felt my eyesight worsening and it was difficult to drive at night.  Oncoming traffic looked like it was in the same lane coming at me.  I read the signs (!!) and figured my cataracts were getting the best of me.  I was right.  I am so insightful.

Off to the doc.  Yep.  They had grown larger and my symptoms were right on.  I needed surgery.

Naturally I made an appointment with the eye surgeon working with my doctor’s practice.  Well……..let me tell you.  I did not like him from the first moment.  After years of being told my eyes were very healthy this surgeon told me I had the beginning of a stigmatism and I had pseudo exfoliation.  Thus, I had to have laser surgery rather than the scalpel type ‘old school’ surgery.  Oh…and wait…$3200 would be the cost…and…oh…Medicare doesn’t cover it.  Really?

I found myself another surgeon in Atlanta with a good reputation and I went for my consult.  SURPRISE!  NO STIGMATISM AND NO PSEUDO EXFOLIATION.  Not mentioned.  No problem.  Ah ha!  The first surgeon was trying to pay off that laser whatchamacallit.  I’m normally good at reading people and once again my instincts proved correct.  Go me!

Scheduled.  Eye #1.  I was just plain scared.  Yep I know.  Everyone tells you it is a piece of cake.  No problem.  A walk in the park.  Well, sorry, folks.  The very thought of someone coming at my eye with a scalpel freaked me completely out.  I hated the idea and I even hated the idea of the clip they put on the eye.  I hated everything about it.  My BIL walked me through it and tried to calm me.  Thanks Fred.  But sorry.  Not working.  Sick to my stomach.  Headache.  You get the idea.

Surgery day.  I was freezing.  Two warm cozy blankets helped.  IV with ‘goodies’ to relax me.  Nope.  Didn’t work.  Rolled into the op room.  OK, Leigh, hold on.  Everyone said it is a piece of cake.  White knuckling it.  Not happy.  I was wondering to myself if this is ALL the relaxing meds they will give me?  Not even touching me.  More and more nervous.  Surgeon is in the room.  Oh, no, here he comes for me.  Scalpel in hand.  I will be blinded forever.  What if his hand slips?  What if………WAIT……who is he talking to?  OMG….an INTERN????  I could hear the intern comment next to MY surgeon.  WTH????  I’m so nervous but yet the surgery wasn’t enough.  I had to hear a blow by blow of MY surgery as told by my surgeon to this intern.  “Scalpel please.  I will cut along here.  Flip the blah blah back.  Here is the cataract.  I will now blah blah blah.  I must continue to fill the eye with fluid or it may collapse…blah blah blah.  Fold this lens over blah blah blah.”   The intern was fascinated with MY surgery.  I am glad I was able to give her a thrill.  I felt like I would pass out.  Felt pressure.  Is that the surgeon touching my eye on the side?  OMG.  My eye is no longer ‘dead’. Double whammy.  Why ME???

Oh…DONE!!! Yes, I made it.  No more surgeon.  No more intern.  Rolling into post op.  Sigh……..I am just awesome.  I did it and I wasn’t even nervous!

Eye #2 scheduled.  Piece of cake.  No problem.  WAIT!  WHAT?  An Intern?  NO WAY JOSE.  I will speak my mind this time.  I will also ask the anesthesiologist for more juice PLEASE for heaven’s sake and mine.  Lordy.

“A cataract…affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65…Cataracts are considered part of the natural aging process and are considered a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention…”   Understanding Cataracts by Georgia Eye Partners

The price we pay for aging.  Ain’t it grand?


My advice:  1. No intern.  My eyes, my surgery.  Not show and tell.  2. Get a second opinion. 3. Tell anesthesiologist you need lots of juice. 4. Get them out early.  No longer do doctors recommend that you wait.  Smaller the better.



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