One thing you discover when you announce that you're having cataract surgery, when you're my age, is that it seems that everyone has either had it, or knows someone (or lots of someones) who have had it. The reports are unanimous. Glowing. Ecstatic. My mother, for example, has been so excited for me and has told me again and again how my world will change, how I will be amazed at how much brighter things are.
Because I can be a bit of a hypochondriac, in my worst moments prior to surgery, I was convinced I was going to be blind. In my most optimistic, I hoped that it would be as good as people said, but I wasn't going to let myself get over-enthusiastic until I saw it for myself.
We got to Kaiser early,because of encountering no traffic whatsoever, and they took me into the darkened office almost immediately. The med tech removed the bandages and yes, I could see. Blurry, but I could see. There was also a kind of dark line along the left edge of my eye whenever I moved my eye from side to side. I mentioned this to the tech, who just asked if it was a flash or ...something else. I don't remember what and mumbled "mm-hmm" when I told him it was like a flash.
He put up the eye chart for me to read. I asked if I should put on my glasses and he said that my glasses wouldn't work any more. Problem was I still couldn't read the chart. I explained that the doctor wasn't going to correct my vision to perfect and that I would still need glasses. He didn't respond.
I stumbled through reading the letters I could, disappointed because previously I could zip through that chart in nothing flat. He gave me something with holes, like a sieve, to look through, and that made it a bit better, but not much.
"Not bad for the first day," he said.
Harumph. This was not the brilliant "a-ha!" moment I had hoped for.
The doctor came in and did his bit, said things were fine and that when I came back for my next appointment, next week, he'd set me up with an appointment for new glasses. I asked him about the dark line at the side of my eye and he said that sometimes the gel in the eye leaked out a bit and that it would probably go away in time (my mother confirmed, later, that this was the case with her too).
During the course of the exam, the doctor turned on the overhead lights and I closed the operated-on eye to look out of the "bad" eye again and noticed the difference in how muted the colors were vs. the brilliant colors I was seeing with the newly operated eye. The doctor's shirt wasn't this muted blue-grey color, but a nice bright blue color. The folder on the wall wasn't tan, it was bright orange!
Walking back to the car was kind of a voyage of discovery. I put on my glasses and everything was more blurry, but better than without my glasses. I could read signs if the print was big enough, but couldn't read them at all without my glasses.
The drive back home was kind of trying out new things. Thrilled to note that the things about driving that made me give it up were gone. No more the shadows in my vision, cars coming at us with headlights on didn't blind me. And yes, the world around me was so much brighter. But I also couldn't focus. And it would apparently be at least a week before we could do anything about that.
When we got home, I remembered that I had some old glasses still around here, so I tried a pair of those, with a slightly weaker prescription and those were actually better. Not good, but definitely better.
The main difference I noticed was with the computer screen. The difference in color and brightness is literally the difference between night and day. Photos I've taken and posted look completely different to me now and was that blue line at the bottom of my screen always an electric blue? Best of all, the letters I am reading are black, no longer grey.
I worried about using the wrong glasses and spending too much time on the computer, so I sent a note to the doctor (love that you can now e-mail your doctor!) He wrote back that I can use whatever glasses work and repeated that he'll set me up for an appointment when I come back next time, but said something he hadn't said before--I will get my new lenses in about a month. Obviously this is to give the eye time to completely heal, but I will be coping with the wrong lenses until then, but that won't hurt my eye.
About computer usage, I am cleared to do whatever I want. I suspect the limiting factor is going to be eye strain, but apparently I'm not in danger of damaging the eye by over-use.
As the day has passed, either I'm getting used to it, or it's already beginning to settle into what it's going to be. I am thrilled to walk outside into the bright sunlight and realize that I can see and not that I have to shield my eyes. I can watch TV with the windows uncovered. I can look across the room at the clock and not have to squint. I am going to be better, and I am going to be back to normal very soon.