Thursday, February 28, 2013

O Say Can't I See?

I felt so smart today.

It was the day I had my yearly eye exam with the optometrist.   On the drive to his office, I was thinking about how my vision has changed in the past year.  For one thing the cataract in my right eye has grown larger and while the opthomologist and I discussed the problems with removing that particular cataract 2 years ago (because of a congenital deformity in the eye, that I was unaware I had) and decided to just leave it alone since I have never used that eye for vision anyway.  But in the past year, I am aware that the cataract has grown which, as I don't use that eye for vision, doesn't really bother me, but I have become aware that on the off chance something happens to my GOOD eye while I am driving, for example, I don't think I could see well enough bad enough to move the car safely to the side of the road. I wanted to talk with the doctor about it.

The other problem is that my vision is not as good as it was a year ago.  I was trying to figure out how to describe the problem because I read signs better than Walt, my short or long vision hasn't really changed, but the overall vision is just...different.  I remembered what I read one time, that if you can't describe the problem with your vision, it's astigmatism.  Anybody with astigmatism will understand that immediately and anybody who does not have astigmatism won't have a clue what I'm talking about.

So when I got to the office, I told the doctor that my vision had deteriorated and that I thought it was a worsening of my astigmatism and told him about the quote.  He did all the vision tests and then said "Well, you're right; your vision has changed and it is your astigmatism."  Yay me.

All this means is a new prescription for glasses, but first he wanted to check with the opthalmologist about the cataract.  They decided I should have a consult when they can fit me in (I told him I've dealt with this for 70 years, so there was no great rush!)

I don't know if I can accurately describe the problem, but a cataract on a normal eye grows over the lens.  Cataract surgery involves removing the lens and the cataract and replace it with a synthetic lens.  With my eye, because the eye itself is "deformed" the cataract wraps around to the back of the eyeball and so in order to remove it, as I understand it (tho I will probably know more after I've had my consultation) is that it will involve three surgeries to first remove the cataract and lens, second, fix the problem, and finally insert the new lens.  

The consult with the ophthalmologist will go over the procedure, the pros and cons, the dangers and the best and worst case scenarios--and then decide if we're going to do it or not.  So I will hold off getting new glasses until I've had that consult and if we are going to do the surgeries, I will wait until we know what sort of lens correction I will need then.
I'm a bit nervous about messing around with an eye that has at least some usable vision, but on the other hand, I've never known what it is to have good vision or depth perception or all those other things that you guys take for granted!

I had a couple of hours to kill after the appointment.  My book club was meeting at 7 p.m. so it was too soon to drive home and then drive back to Sacramento.  Fortunately it was rush hour, so getting from the doctor's office to the book store where our meetings happen took pretty near an hour.  I had enough time to have dinner with 25 minutes to spare.

There were nearly 20 people at the meeting, maybe the largest group I've been part of in the few months I've been attending the meetings.

We were discussing Willa Cather's "My Antonia," and it was a lively discussion.  I was the only person who wasn't delighted with it.  I enjoyed it all right, but I didn't take the deight in it that other people did.  A lot of comment was made about the beauty of Cather's writing and some derisive comments made of Steinbeck's colorfully descriptive passsages, which I love so much.  So I didn't offer much to the discussion, other than commenting about the pronunciation of "Antonia," whether AnTONia, AntoNEEa, or ANtonia.  The group has been pretty much divided between the first two pronunciations (and the e-mail I received after asking that question here and on Facebook was equally divided), but I have never heard ANYBODY use the third pronunciation, though according to the book, that is the proper pronunciation.  All through reading it I kept trying to say ANtonia, but it just did not flow trippingly off the tongue.

Next month we are reading "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri, our contemporary fiction book.  I haven't started it yet. though Amazon describes it as a "deeply moving family drama that illuminates this acclaimed author's signature themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the tangled ties between generations."  Sounds good....perhaps better than "My Antonia" !


Harriet said...

At least the optometrist listened to you. Six years ago, when I was in a similar situation, they fixed the lesser eye first because they couldn't see into the eye any more than I could see out.

Removing your remaining cataract may help them identify and, with a little luck, fix the problem.

Kwizgiver said...

Good luck with your eyes!

I've read both books--and I thought The Namesake was easier for me to get into than My Antonia.