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Cataract surgery experience, anyone?

thebighurt posted 12/14/2019 09:23 AM

I looked for a previous thread about this but couldn't find one. I need the surgery on both eyes soon and wonder if anyone here has experienced with it to relate.

One eye seems very simple, straight-forward, but I'm told the other has astigmatism and needs enough stronger prescription that the surgeon suggests a replacement lens that insurance will not cover, but would make my vision in both eyes much more equal and I would be much more satisfied. I am near-sighted and opt for the lenses that would give me 20-20 distance vision, so I'm wondering how it would be dealt with between surgeries. I would need a corrective lens for one still, but not the other.

Another patient in the waiting room was having dizziness with one eye done and not the other, which the surgeon said is a possible outcome.

Both of those things and other possibilities has me wondering enough to put this out here. Anyone willing to share??

TheCaterpillar posted 12/14/2019 10:46 AM

My Nana had both eyes done 11 years ago. They did them separately with a fairly short gap between. She had temporary glasses in between as it changed her prescription (although they couldn't give her 20/20, not sure if that's due to age, presciption strength or other age related conditions). It was an additional cost but she felt that it was worth it because she was 83 at the time and her independence was incredibly important to her. She had a relatively short gap between the two procedures, I believe it was a week, maybe 10 days although this was 11years ago so I may be misremembering.

She had cataracts in both eyes, one was quite advanced as they were unwilling to operate due to her having other conditions (glaucoma and another condition which I can't think of the name of but causes problems with the back of the eye, maybe the name will come back to me later). She had really good results and if you would like to me to ask any specific questions to her or my 2 uncles (1 optometrist and 1 ophthalmic surgeon) pm me and I'll gladly drop them a text

thebighurt posted 12/14/2019 11:17 AM

Thank you very much, the Caterpillar. Mine will be 2 to 3 weeks apart, unless problems with the first. They do the one with the more advanced cataract first and that eye has less going on. I'm curious about the effect the astigmatism and stronger prescription the second eye means and if the expensive lens would actually give me same or nearly similar sight in both.

One person told me they simply removed the lens from the side of their glasses in front of the first eye until the second was done. Now they only need glasses to read, which is the opposite of mine now, so I guess that would be my issue then. Then there is the possibility of dizziness...

tushnurse posted 12/14/2019 12:54 PM

The time between is usually only a couple weeks.
My mom had to wear her glasses still for the untreated eye in between. We just removed the lens from the corrected side on her glasses.
It's an amazing and miraculous surgery that has minimal complications and is essentially a recovery free procedure.

FaithFool posted 12/14/2019 13:59 PM

I had both done last year, two weeks between. Astigmatism and advanced cataracts in both.

There was an option to have one eye corrected for distance and the other for close work but I wasn't sure my brain would cope well with having to constantly calibrate between the two, outcome is not guaranteed for everyone. (Your mileage may vary, and if you do go that route, your doc should offer temporary contact lenses to try out before you commit. As a lifelong hater of contacts, I declined.)

I opted to pay extra for toric implants to have correction that lets me read without constantly having to carry (and lose!) readers, and kept my (much less complicated prescription) progressive lenses for regular wear.

I've had glasses all my life and don't mind wearing them out in the world. They protect my eyes when I'm biking too. I no longer wear glasses at home and can read and do computer stuff without them.

The major things were colour and light, both restored with startling clarity. You really notice that in between surgeries, the old eye makes everything really yellow and smeared. The first few weeks you'll probably be really sensitive to bright sunlight, and that will settle down over time. I got really good polarized clip-on shades that sorted it out for me.

As for between surgeries, I was lucky in that I wasn't working at the time so could just hang out without having to wear glasses at all. My old prescription worked fine in between when I had to go out, but I wouldn't be driving.

My distance vision with my progressive lenses is really amazing now whereas before everything was a blur beyond a certain point even with glasses.

There is some residual halo effect driving into strong headlights, I understand there's no guarantee on that either, but it's nowhere near as bad as before surgery. I stopped night driving years ago when the cataracts first started, even going out at dusk was kind of iffy, everything was a smudge, and I can drive anytime now.

Some folks experience dry eye after surgery that doesn't diminish. Mine were fine after the initial weeks of prescribed drops.

The surgery itself is easy peasy. Take the nice Ativan they'll offer you during the hour prep, that really helped.

[This message edited by FaithFool at 2:01 PM, December 14th (Saturday)]

Marriagesucks posted 12/14/2019 14:06 PM

I would suggest you to do your research. This is your eyes we are talking about. As a child I had near perfect vision. (20/10).

I had my cataract surgery done a few years ago. However before that I had contracted forty-eye-tis, which meant reading glasses.

Back to the cataracts... I was given 3 options. Option 1 is a standard lens which is good but you will still need glasses to read. The 3rd option was pushed... a lens which is supposed to give 20/20 vision (not guaranteed).

I chose option 2... a toric lens which corrects astigmatism....which for me was the VERY best option. Yes...I still need reading glasses but I can now see a fly nipping at a horse's hind quarters at 200 yards. Exaggeration? Yes...but not by much.

Research. Research. Good luck.

thebighurt posted 12/14/2019 16:24 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Especially for the experience with the toric lenses. That is what my doctor said would give me the closest to equal vision in both eyes, given the astigmatism in one eye and that eye also needs a much stronger prescription in my glasses.

Yes, there is quite a bill that goes with the toric lenses. Happily, I only need one!

I have had glasses since elementary school and often feel they are the only reason I am not blind from bumping into things and poking my eyes out! Like FF said about protecting while biking. So I'm thinking of plain glass in the top with correction for reading in the bifocal area if that can be worked out. While just around the house, I could go without at times.

I only recently stopped night driving due to the glare from certain headlights. Only certain ones and at certain heights bother, but those bring me to a blinding stop, so I quit for safety. I'm also getting eyestrain and feeling very tired with headaches from the cataracts.

Much as I dread them doing anything to my eyes, I'm also looking forward to getting rid of these issues. One person said they were awake during the procedures, but I definitely do NOT want to know anything about it until it is done! Put me out!!

hopefull77 posted 12/14/2019 16:47 PM

Just did one eye right before Thanksgiving. I decided against the Toric. I had Lasix back in 2000 and they did a SLIGHT mono vision so I just kept it like that.
My other eye isn't ready yet.
As far as the procedure,it's pretty darn easy...it's remembering to use the darn drops that
are driving me crazy!

allusions posted 12/14/2019 16:51 PM

I had cataract surgery done very recently. My right eye was done on December 3rd.

I had Lasik surgery in 2006 which changed my corneas so I basically had to have the surgery done with something called ORA to double-check the correction. That cost an extra $200 per eye. I had developed astigmatism in both eyes over the years and required toric lenses which were an extra cost.

The Lasik surgery was done to give me distance vision in my left eye and reading in my right. I asked my opthamologist to do the same with my cataract surgery. My left eye is now 20/20, and my right eye is able to read the teeny, tiny print on eye drop bottles so I am very pleased. No more glasses! I do have some starburst with bright lights (like car headlights) which the doctor thinks can be easily corrected by laser.

They told me they don't knock patients out for the cataract surgery because they need you to be alert enough to respond to instructions. I recall at one point being asked to "look at the red light". I can't say the experience was a walk in the park but it was worth it to get such improved vision.

FaithFool posted 12/14/2019 18:47 PM

I was a bit squeamish at the thought of being awake, but once the Ativan kicked in that all went out the window. You're only on the table for about 15 minutes, and my lights were purple and looked like an alien ship hovering overhead, which was trippy and served to distract me nicely...

My surgeon has music going in the OR, so it was all pretty chill.

thebighurt posted 12/14/2019 21:59 PM

I've never taken Ativan. I have had propofol for some very minor surgeries in which they needed to wake me up to check things and really like the way it works and wears off quickly. I guess I will be asking if that is a possibility. I really don't like taking anything new.

Not sure my brain could do monovision, Allusions. I'm not liking the sound of those starbursts either. I have them now and hope the surgery will fix it. I had a boss who had lasik surgery to correct vision so glasses wouldn't be needed and the surgery gave him the starbursts. They told him they could operate again to fix it, but he was a bit leery after the first one. Don't know how that all came out as I retired.

FF, that experience does sound a bit trippy with purple lights, aliens and all.

thebighurt posted 12/16/2019 17:10 PM

it's remembering to use the darn drops that†
are driving me crazy!
hopeful77, I have already been instructed to use drops before the surgery and am having trouble remembering to do it... Doesn't bode well for after...

Thank you all. I have been doing research as Marriagsucks suggested. Most of it points in the same direction you have here (except maybe in more medical language ). Still not understanding it all 100%, but will keep seeking the answers right through next month at my pre-op (questions raised by what you all have said and my research) to give them my decision.

plainsong posted 12/22/2019 17:20 PM

Sorry about the delay in responding to this. I just had cataract surgery done on both eyes, two weeks apart. I second the recommendation on research. One result from my research - I found an article that said that with excellent skills, surgeons get within a half a diopter of the correction they are aiming at 90% of the time. With very good skills, it's 80%.

This was relevant to me because I decided to have the new lenses corrected for near vision rather than far. (I read a lot, and because of a trauma history would freak out if things in my immediate environments were not clear.) It turns out that if the correction is off too much for a near vision correction, you can end up far-sighted rather than nearsighted. I asked for 20/20 vision at 20 inches (to read and use my computer), and got 16 inches. Luckily that does allow me to use the computer without glasses.

What follows is more of a vent. I found that it was very difficult to get the advance information I wanted from either my optometrist,who does my prescriptions for glasses, or the ophthamologist who was going to do the surgery. I wanted a list of risks and what could be done if they happened. I got "The eye is complex and a number of things can go wrong, but most of them can be managed". No details. I eventually got some information and decided to take my chances and go ahead, since the frequency of complications is very low (2 or 3%).

I had some pain, especially with my first eye. Not severe but felt like someone was scraping out the inside of my eye (which they were!). Didn't get clear instructions on how to get the anesthesiologist to increase the medication. (I told they I was anxious ahead of time, but they refused to give me anti-anxiety medication.) Then the tape they used to tape on a protective eye cap after the first operation hurt quite a lot, and interfered with my sleep that first night. I requested paper tape for the second one, which was much better.

After the second operation, I had a surge of pressure (read "pain") in the eye when I bent down part way to tie my shoes. Unpredictable eye pressure is one possible complication after the surgery. My eye kept hurting moderately in the days after the surgery, and I called for an additional follow-up appointment. (Don't be shy about requesting a check-up, even if the pain isn't "severe.") At that point the steroid drops I was using were dropped, and I was given drops to reduce the pressure. The pain gradually decreased, but it was not until I saw my own Dr. that I got the explanation that the remaining pain was from muscle strain, which decreases slowly. Some people can have severe scratchy pain, for which they are advised to use artificial tears. I am very thankful I did not have that.

Between the two surgeries I saw double, because the vision in the two eyes was so different. I couldn't drive a car. Another thing I believe someone should have told me about ahead of time.

On the positive side, my vision now is FANTASTIC. Without glasses, I can read or use the computer with no strain. With distance glasses, I can read street signs as if through a microscope! I have NEVER seen this well in my life.

Good luck with the procedure. Lots of people are very happy with the results and don't have the complications I did.

thebighurt posted 12/22/2019 19:02 PM

Thank you very much, Plainsong. I have added the things you mentioned to my list for the next visit. A few people I know IRL have told me about complications they had, which was very helpful, as is what you said. I am very sensitive to anesthesia, so need to discuss that, too.

I'm concerned about my vision between surgeries, as you said. I really want distance vision to be the result of my surgeries and will discuss implications with them. I have had glasses since childhood and am so used to wearing them, that I think I will ask for glasses with clear distance and a prescription for computer use and reading, even though I do both off and on all day. I have a business contact who did that and is pleased.

Thank you again for your thoughts, Plainsong.

Cooley2here posted 12/22/2019 19:55 PM

I canít use propofol. I was awake for the first and given enough tranc to knock me out for the second. Laser surgery which I had to pay for. You need help with the expensive drops. One drop three times a day for a week, then two a day for a week, then one a day for a week. You use drops for a few days before surgery. I need glasses for reading but otherwise am off them.
One eye healed up immediately. The other took two weeks.

thebighurt posted 12/29/2019 19:45 PM

Thank you for sharing your experience, Cooley2here. I haven't gotten my info for after surgery yet, but am supposed to be using drops for dry, itchy eyes.

You said the tran knocked you out, but I have been told by some that for some reason they could not be out for the surgery. My brother is one who told me he had to be awake for his but couldn't remember why.

Plainsong, your response raised some questions for me, so I hope it is okay that I plan to send you a PM.

sad12008 posted 12/30/2019 20:12 PM

I'm following this thread, too; I had bilateral PPV surgery for retinal tears/detachment about 8-11 months ago, and the gas caused cataracts. They seem to be getting worse rapidly. I'll be needing cataract surgery next month. What a year it's been. All info is welcome, because it's scary to be dealing with a significant loss of vision.

thebighurt posted 1/30/2020 08:58 AM

Sad12008, it's hard when doing what is supposed to fix anything, especially your vision, causes another problem with it. Have you had the first surgery yet? Hopefully you are satisfied with your result if you did.

I had my first one done and it was very successful and took very little time. They were very good at everything they did. I had a couple of issues that the anesthesiologist addressed easily with his knowledge. I even received a "Thank You" card signed by everyone on my "care team" shortly after. Very much looking forward to getting the second done and hope for an equally good outcome. Just need to get used to the idea that I will need glasses to read.

Feel free to PM if you have any questions or concerns.

sad12008 posted 2/4/2020 22:22 PM

Thanks, tbh! So far, I've only had the retinal surgeries. Next week I go for the consult on the cataract surgery. Had a regular eye exam today, and as expected, my vision's plummeted.

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