Sometimes we see life through a hazy filter – things aren’t clear and we think or feel that what we see is a disaster. But if we work on the situation or the problem, things can clear up and maybe, just maybe, the world, and that situation in particular, will look at little better or even beautiful. Life isn’t perfect, but the way we see things can change how we feel about them.
One literal example of this was my recent cataract surgery. A year ago, my eye doctor told me that I had the beginnings of cataracts but he said I wasn’t ready for surgery yet. I didn’t notice any difference in my vision, but cataracts can grow on you slowly. At this year’s visit to the eye doctor, there was a very noticeable difference in my vision. I had no idea it was the cataracts that was causing this difference; I just thought that my eyesight was getting worse. But the eye doctor said my cataracts had worsened, and he suggested I see a specialist to remove the cataracts before doing anything about changing my glasses prescription.
I made an appointment with the ophthalmologist that he recommended and went in to see him. Dr. O is a big old guy – I’m guessing over 6’ and mid to late 70s – which was a little intimidating, and he seemed very egotistical, which was even more intimidating. I asked him a lot of questions, but he seemed reluctant to answer my questions, as if I should have known the answers to them. I said to him – look, you do this every day, but I’m new to this and have never done it before. I asked about the procedure, and he said that he would take out the lenses of my eyes with the cataracts and put in a new lens. He said that the process is to come back for measurements of my eyes, after a week of putting in certain eye drops; they will measure my eyes, and then we go to surgery.
I came back in a week after using the drops, and they measured my eyes. Dr. O looked in my eyes through the microscope, confirmed the measurements and said, ok we are done, I will see you in surgery
Well, he thought we were done, and I said WAIT, am I getting a lens for close view or distance view. I knew enough to ask that question. He said 99% of people get the distance lens. I asked if I would be able to see close, and he said that I would need glasses to see my computer and the back of my camera to adjust the settings. So I responded that since I’m going to be wearing glasses to see close, which is quite a bit of the time, maybe I need the close up lens so I can see close, and just wear glasses all the time like I do now and have done for many years. He seemed to get frustrated with me, and said that some people who absolutely need to see close have gotten the close up lenses, and that if I felt that strongly about it, I should get the close up lenses. He said, in fact, I think you will be miserable if you get the distance lens.
I left his office and went to see the scheduler at the front desk to schedule surgery. Then I went home with more questions than I could possibly imagine. I called the office with question after question. And they tried to answer my questions as best they could, checking with the doctor each time. When they said that I was going to have to go a month without being able to see far away, I freaked out. They said that I couldn’t get a new glasses prescription until my eyes healed after a month. What! I couldn’t drive for a month? Now I was totally lost and confused. How could this be?
So I started doing research on the internet and asking friends about cataract surgery. I found out that he was indeed correct that most people get the distance lenses, but I wanted to know what photographers do, so I researched that too, and I found out that photographers choose the distance lenses. So I decided after researching and asking questions that I would probably change to the distance lenses, as it seemed like the better option for me.
I asked friends and even my brother how their vision is with the distance lenses, and they said they loved it. But I asked can you see close? Can you see your computer? I asked another photographer friend what he would choose. So with my answers, I called the doctor’s office again, and he said, well, they aren’t you, and they don’t have your eye prescription.
Frustrated with this doctor and totally fed up with having to call to constantly get answers, I decided that this doctor was not the right one for me. I asked a few friends about this situation, and they agreed and suggested that I change doctors. A friend said that her daughter and son-in-law went to school with Dr M who is in the same practice as Dr O, and she said they told her that he is a really great doctor with a much better “bedside manner”, and in fact she was going to have him do her surgery because she too didn’t like Dr O – she had the same kind of experience that I did. She suggested that I change to Dr. M.
So I called the office and told them that I wanted to change to Dr. M. They called me back and said Dr M agreed to take me on as a patient. I made an appointment to see him and after meeting and talking with him, I knew I had made the right decision. He agreed that the distance lens was going to be the best option for me. Relieved and very much satisfied with my decision to have Dr M do my surgery and insert the distance lens, I scheduled surgery for the soonest date they had, which was two weeks later.
In the meantime, since seeing my original eye doctor, my cataracts seemed to have progressively gotten worse. I was not seeing things very well, especially through my left eye. The world was sort of cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, and just plain not clear. It got to the point where it was dangerous for me to drive. So I was really looking forward to getting the surgery done so I could see again.
Surgery day came, and I was so nervous – almost panicky – about the procedure. I did deep breathing to stay calm because they told me that although I would have anesthesia, I would be awake for the surgery, which I found unbelievable and scary. So there I was, laying in the surgery center taking deep breaths and praying for a good outcome until they put the anesthesia in. And then I was pretty much gone… if I was awake, I certainly wasn’t aware that I was awake, except for one moment during surgery that I looked up, saw the lights and the doctor and asked if I could go to yoga. And he said, today is not the day for yoga, today we are concentrating on the surgery…and then I was out again.
After surgery, I felt very little pain in my left eye which was the eye they operated on. The right eye would be done the next week. But within a few days I was able to see clearly out of my left eye, and the difference between my two eyes was incredible and really unbelievable. The right eye was still cloudy, but everything looked so much clearer out of my left eye. I could see myself, the tv, the world outside. I saw that the snow was white, not a cloudy yellowish. Colors were more vivid and light was so much brighter. I put on my old glasses so I could see out of my right eye, but because of the huge prescription difference, I had to cover my left eye most of the time for that week so I could see close and far away. I kind of felt like a pirate with one eye covered, and I felt very lopsided, but I knew it was only temporary.
The next week, I had my right eye done. Surgery prep went faster and I had much less anxiety about it because I knew what to expect. And after surgery I had more pain in my right eye than I did with the left, but it only lasted a day or two.
Within a few days of surgery, my right eye started to heal, I was once again amazed at how much and how well I could see. The world was a whole new place, and I could see it clearly. I could see to drive without glasses for the first time in my life. I could see my computer and my phone and my camera without glasses, although not very clearly, so I still need glasses to be able to work on my photos and read my phone message clearly. However, I am writing this on my computer without glasses. I can see the print, but it’s a little fuzzy. I now need glasses to see close up, but I don’t need to wear them all day long like I did before. I don’t need to grab for my glasses before I get out of bed.
I’m looking at life through a very new and different lens, literally and figuratively, and I’m loving my new view.