Friday, August 19, 2011

A Matched Set

The cataract in my right eye was removed on Wednesday, with The Sole Heir once again in attendance. (No photo this time; just hold the previous one up to a mirror.) This nurse anesthetist was a little more heavy-handed than his predecessor, so I slept through most of this one, including snoring, much to the amusement of the doctor and TSH.

The first thing I noticed when I finished my three-hour afternoon nap was that my glasses, without which I had been lost for almost fifty years, were no longer of use to me. I couldn’t see anything through them. Yesterday’s follow-up exam showed my right eye better than my left—as expected—with my overall vision when using both eyes at 20.25. I only need glasses to read. (I’ve hung nothing off my ears or nose to type this.)

Having good vision after a lifetime of Magoo Syndrome requires some changes. I bought a cheap pair of readers and keep pushing them up my nose when I look up from making a note, only to realize I can’t read the screen through them; I have to look over.  I ran a couple of errands yesterday with the vague feeling I was forgetting something, and was regularly surprised when I’d reach up to scratch my face and could do so unimpeded.

The best was last night. As I went to turn out the bathroom light on my way to bed I passed the dresser where I have always kept my glasses for easy retrieval first thing in the morning. Without thinking, my hand went up to remove my glasses. I laughed out loud.

To me, seeing well meant I had my glasses on. That was the only way it could happen. I was never vain about glasses. I’m not sure whether I look better with or without them, partly because my self-image is so closely associated with “with.” To me, it’s not how I look; it’s how I see.

It’s a liberating feeling. The Beloved Spouse found a crack in her glasses a couple of weeks ago, and had to resort to a pair of loaners while her progressive lenses were re-ground. Had I broken my glasses a month ago, I would not have been able to drive to Hour Eyes for a replacement. I break the readers, I just get my dead ass off the chair and go to Giant or CVS or Target and buy another pair.

What I notice most are things that never occurred to me when I thought about it before having the bionics implanted. An ability to shift focus without having to move my head to look through the proper area of the progressive lens. My peripheral vision is no wider, but there’s no blurry edge where my eye scans beyond the edge of my glasses. My vision is clear all day. No smudges or dust gets on the lens.

In a small way I almost feel disloyal. I’ve not been able to leave the house without glasses for as long as I can remember. Now they’re not only not helpful, they’re counterproductive. I couldn’t wear them if I wanted to, as my “corrected” vision is much worse than it ever was uncorrected.

I’ll get over it. Outdoor activities will be easier . I’m going to get myself to a batting cage in a couple of weeks to see how that goes, and might consider looking for a 55-and-over softball league next spring. Looking out the window, it’s startling to see the backyard in three dimensions, how far the limbs of the pine tree reach away from its trunk.

My most sincere thanks to Dr. John Grundy and everyone connected with his practice and with the Snowden River Surgery Center, where the procedures took place. As life-altering experiences go, only the birth of the Sole Heir and meeting The Beloved Spouse surpass the work these folks have done.

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