On Cataracts

So, my eyes have been in a state of “good news/bad news” for the better part of a month, now.

The good news is, I can see again.

The bad news is, my middle vision had been impaired for the better part of a month because my new prescription for progressive lenses radically changed my astigmatism setting when it perhaps didn’t need to.

The good news is, the optometrist acknowledged the problem and arranged to have my lenses replaced for free.

But the bad news is, one of the reasons the astigmatism was measured so wrong could have been because I was having an allergy attack at the time my eyes were being tested back in June. Worse news than that is the reason the doctors didn’t raise their eyebrows too high over the sudden shift in my astigmatism is because I’ve been diagnosed with cataracts.

But the good news is, with cataracts in my eyes, OHIP now covers my visits to the eye doctor!

You’ll take your good news where you can.

So, the long and the short of it is, I may need cataract surgery in eighteen months. It is noticeable in my left eye and it is getting worse (my left eye now sees double, regardless of how much they try to correct it). And I’m kind of freaking out about that, even though my eye doctor quotes me some very comforting statistics.

For instance, did you know that cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed in North America? It’s done out-patient, with local anesthetic, and all you need at the end of it is an eyepatch to put on when you sleep.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s good that the surgery is so routine, the fact that there’s no blood involved and the incision is so microscopic that it seals itself almost instantly, but the fact that they’re going to be poking things at my eyes makes me almost wish they’d just put me out entirely.

But the strangest thing that I’m wrestling with is the fact that, with cataract surgery (which OHIP covers, yay!), they can fix my eyes. Completely. I mean, to the point where I won’t need glasses (except possibly magnifying reading glasses, if I so choose).

I’ve been wearing glasses since the summer before my third grade at school. They’ve been something of a bane to my existence. I’ve been tempted on numerous occasions to consider laser eye surgery in order to be able to see straight whenever I open my eyes in the morning (as opposed to fumbling and possibly knocking my glasses off my night stand). Especially now that the sight in my left eye is deteriorating, the prospect of proper vision is… compelling, to say the least.

On the other hand, glasses have stared back at me from every mirror I’ve looked into (clearly) these past thirty-five years. To suddenly consider such a radical change to my appearance — dare I say, my personality — well… I’m going to need a period of adjustment.

My body is changing; it’s like puberty all over again. It’s no less awkward and frightening but, at the same time (thanks to medical science) offering some prospects for hope.

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