The Eyes Have It

Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

It is wonderful and amazing to have my sight restored. I still can’t believe how clear and bright everything seems, even to the point that I have to wear cool-dude shades whenever the sun peeks out.

I haven’t posted anything for three months because I was going blind. Cataracts: who knew? Evidently not the opticians who initially failed to recognise what was happening and then later gave me crap advice on how bad it was and what I might do about it. Should have gone to… an ophthalmologist.

Happily I’ve always been fortunate enough to live near top university teaching hospitals and their resident specialists. In the past that has saved both of my children’s lives; and now it’s also saved my sight.

The degradation of my eyesight was so gradual that I was like the frog in the bowl who doesn’t notice he’s being slowly boiled. I adapted: I got more powerful glasses and then different pairs for every occasion; I kept polishing them because they never seemed to be clean; I stopped driving at night; I squinted at the screen and put extra lights on when I wanted to read a book, which I did less and less. Finally one evening I couldn’t keep the text on my PC in focus any longer and the strain on my eyes was unbearable, so I staggered through to the living room and realised that I couldn’t focus on the TV screen either. That was when I knew something had to be done.

In these Covid times, the waiting list with the National Health Service is about a year and a half. I don’t have medical insurance but needs must. I got a private appointment in three days and the first cataract operation in a week. It was so successful that we did the other eye a fortnight later.

The way it’s done now is astonishing. After removing the cataract, they put a new lens into your eye, like a permanent internal contact lens. The surgeon was brilliant and the anaesthologist sang opera as he dosed me up. Marvellous.

So I can see clearly now, the fog has gone. My long distance vision is near perfect, like it was decades ago. I can drive at night. I have new vary-focal glasses for reading and screen work, which weigh a tenth of what my old ones did. The improvement is startling: originally I thought I’d lost maybe 15% of my vision but in retrospect I realise it must have been more like 30%.

I always regarded sight as the most important of the senses. Now I realise that it is truly priceless.

So, normal service has been restored. I am back at my desk; and if I want to remind myself of how lucky I am, all I have to do is look out the window with my new eyes.