"Cataract Surgery viewed from the inside"

About: Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital

(as the patient),

I earlier reported on my first cataract operation which occurred late last year. Since then I had an MRI. This clearly shows the one plastic lens.

My curiosity led me to ask many questions. I learned that Sydney Hospital has 6 operating theatres in the Day Procedures area. There would be about 7 people in attendance during my operation.

The operation on my second eye went a little differently from the first (when I was completely unaware). I had a cough, and they were concerned about any movement during the delicate operation. So the anaesthetist kept me awake with instructions to say stop if I felt a cough coming on (not needed).

Thus I was aware of the whole core procedure, which took about 20 minutes. It meant that I could see stuff happening. When they swung the operating microscope over me, I saw a curious image including three black ellipses with segments taken out. I can only conjecture that it was an equipment clamp some sort, used in other procedures. My very short-sighted eye (110 mm, -9 diopter) apparently brought it into focus.

Then there was a slurping sound, and the image wobbled around. Presumably my faulty lens was being macerated and sucked out. Other light patterns ensued. Eventually the new lens was inserted, and the image was restored but now blurred. I guess my new sight, being focussed near infinity, no longer resolved the microscope internals.

This awareness was not a bother to me, but some squeamish people I have told have said they would not want to experience it.

Finally, I have graphed my vision life-history. (Images not allowed on this site sadly). The graph shows my vision error (from optical prescriptions and my own measurements) over my life.

There is steady deterioration from childhood to about -2. 5 diopter. Then at age 62, I noticed my vision suddenly changing. Stronger and thicker glasses were needed about every 6 months. An ophthalmic investigation revealed cataracts coming on. After several years my vision reached about -8 diopters and was getting a little foggy. Sydney Hospital placed me on the waiting list, which culminated in operations, at which the vision error dropped suddenly.

I opted for one eye at -2. 0D (result: -2. 5 = 40 cm focus, for reading and computer) and one at -0. 5D (2. 0 m focus, for household and TV, still settling down). I can go a whole day without needing specs, which means I am liable to loose them. Ladders, stairs and glass doors no longer hold fear. Without the distortion from my old thick specs, I am more sure-footed. Without the fog, I can drive at night again.

For driving and long distance sight, I made some bifocal specs (right eye, -2. 5 D). So now I have acute vision at all necessary distances, plus good stereoscopic vision.

A great success – thanks NSW taxpayers!

Responses

Response from Jennie Barry, General Manager, Prince of Wales/Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital

Dear Scientist view,

Thank you again for sharing your experience of your cataract surgery on Patient Opinion at Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital. It is wonderful to hear that the quality of your life style has improved dramatically as a result of your cataract surgeries. I will ensure our staff have the opportunity to read your discerning narrative on life after successful surgery.

Kind regards

Jennie

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