Cataracts

Things started looking kind of blurry, so I figured it was time for some new glasses.  It turns out, I have cataracts!  I have surgery this morning.

I had assumed that they just peel the cloudy film off.  It turns out that they take out the lens inside the eye.  But then, these days, they replace it with a lens implant that actually corrects vision!  The doctor told me that after all of this is over I might not even need glasses!  Which would be for the first time since around seventh grade.  I am astounded and kind of excited about it.

The operation is reportedly no big deal to go through, nothing to worry about.  My only concern is my vision between the first surgery and when it is all over–three weeks later, they’ll do my other eye, and then it takes a few more weeks to heal and for the brain to get used to the new optic signals–so I may have some visual limitations for a month or more.

I’m thinking that after today I’ll have one really good eye, adept at distant vision, but my other eye will still be bad and my glasses will be useless.  Will I be able to read?  Fool with the computer?  Later my other eye will get a new lens for close vision and all will be well.  (Realistically, I might need glasses for reading, though those reading glasses you buy at the drug store may be all I’ll need.)  But what to do until then?

I’m pretty sure I’ll find a way to function.  I’m not supposed to do anything for a couple days after the procedure, which I’m looking forward to also, an enforced rest without guilt.  I’ll probably keep up the blog–that surely doesn’t count as “anything”–though I might have trouble seeing for a day or two.  So if I miss some days of posting, you’ll know why.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    My nephew is a mechanical engineer and worked for Alcon when he was in grad school on the lens mechanics. He showed us a video of the procedure – it takes longer for the anesthetic to set in than it actually takes to remove the old lens and put in the new. The new lens is inserted and then actually unfolds right under the cornea. The opthalmologist then only has to slightly reposition the lens and close up the very, very small incision.

    Not to toot his horn, but it is an amazing little engineering wonder that has made significant improvements to the outcomes of cataract sufferers.

    If you want to see how these are done, here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUYbaJrtR_s

  • SKPeterson

    My nephew is a mechanical engineer and worked for Alcon when he was in grad school on the lens mechanics. He showed us a video of the procedure – it takes longer for the anesthetic to set in than it actually takes to remove the old lens and put in the new. The new lens is inserted and then actually unfolds right under the cornea. The opthalmologist then only has to slightly reposition the lens and close up the very, very small incision.

    Not to toot his horn, but it is an amazing little engineering wonder that has made significant improvements to the outcomes of cataract sufferers.

    If you want to see how these are done, here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUYbaJrtR_s

  • Pete

    Had it done a couple years ago – what a great surgery. Like you, I always needed refractive correction, but no more: 20-20 sans contacts or specs. You’ll love it – hope all goes well. Don’t be too concerned about immediate post-op vision. The optic center of the cerebrum is remarkably nimble – even in old guys like us.

  • Pete

    Had it done a couple years ago – what a great surgery. Like you, I always needed refractive correction, but no more: 20-20 sans contacts or specs. You’ll love it – hope all goes well. Don’t be too concerned about immediate post-op vision. The optic center of the cerebrum is remarkably nimble – even in old guys like us.

  • Kathy

    Can’t you just pop-out the lens from your eyeglasses on the side for the eye that was operated on and just have a corrective lens in the non-operated side? It may look kind of weird, but might work.

  • Kathy

    Can’t you just pop-out the lens from your eyeglasses on the side for the eye that was operated on and just have a corrective lens in the non-operated side? It may look kind of weird, but might work.

  • organistsandra

    My husband had it done last December. Pete is right – the post-op vision was shockingly good. He had such an easy time with the first surgery they did the other eye the very next day. That way he didn’t have to mess around with the unbalanced vision. He definitely needs reading glasses, and carried around a variety of strengths.

  • organistsandra

    My husband had it done last December. Pete is right – the post-op vision was shockingly good. He had such an easy time with the first surgery they did the other eye the very next day. That way he didn’t have to mess around with the unbalanced vision. He definitely needs reading glasses, and carried around a variety of strengths.

  • mikeb

    My dad had it done almost 20 years ago. We were amazed then that they were using “star trek” tools–can’t imagine what they can do today. He told me about his grandparent’s surgery (can’t remember which one) that was “manual” and that they’d had their head weighted down with sandbags. I’m sure those were special medical sandbags but for some reason I always picture the burlap bags they use during a flood.

  • mikeb

    My dad had it done almost 20 years ago. We were amazed then that they were using “star trek” tools–can’t imagine what they can do today. He told me about his grandparent’s surgery (can’t remember which one) that was “manual” and that they’d had their head weighted down with sandbags. I’m sure those were special medical sandbags but for some reason I always picture the burlap bags they use during a flood.

  • Julian

    I studied biomaterials and mechanics in grad school, and we had a project on intraocular lenses. I got to see a video of this surgery on YouTube, and I was simultaneously enraptured and horrified.

  • Julian

    I studied biomaterials and mechanics in grad school, and we had a project on intraocular lenses. I got to see a video of this surgery on YouTube, and I was simultaneously enraptured and horrified.

  • Booklover

    Praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

  • Booklover

    Praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

  • Dan Kempin

    I wish you well, Dr. Veith. If your eyes need rest, you can always listen to audio books–I always consider that a treat. Librivox offers many classics for free streaming online.

  • Dan Kempin

    I wish you well, Dr. Veith. If your eyes need rest, you can always listen to audio books–I always consider that a treat. Librivox offers many classics for free streaming online.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I remember my grandmother getting cataract surgery in the late ’50s. Days spent immobile in a bed, with sandbags around her head so she couldn’t move it before the healing happened. Once it was healed she had to wear very thick lenses for the rest of her life.

    More than 30 years later, my dad had the kind of surgery you’re getting, and marveled at how fast it went, and what wonderful sight he was blessed with, just in time for a trip to Norway.

    So congratulations.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I remember my grandmother getting cataract surgery in the late ’50s. Days spent immobile in a bed, with sandbags around her head so she couldn’t move it before the healing happened. Once it was healed she had to wear very thick lenses for the rest of her life.

    More than 30 years later, my dad had the kind of surgery you’re getting, and marveled at how fast it went, and what wonderful sight he was blessed with, just in time for a trip to Norway.

    So congratulations.

  • helen

    I had this done a year ago.

    Yes, you can pop out one lens and function OK between surgeries. I went back to work at a “computer job”.
    My opthamologist is very good but cautious; he likes one eye to heal before he does the other.
    So I did that for a month before he scheduled the other one. :)

    I also have astigmatism so I still have glasses for that reason. And plan on regular use of sun glasses. Artificial lenses are wonderful but less protective of the eye. I like a wrap around kind that go on right over my glasses. Your doctor should give you a pair after surgery. Foster Grant makes a Polaroid pair that are great.

  • helen

    I had this done a year ago.

    Yes, you can pop out one lens and function OK between surgeries. I went back to work at a “computer job”.
    My opthamologist is very good but cautious; he likes one eye to heal before he does the other.
    So I did that for a month before he scheduled the other one. :)

    I also have astigmatism so I still have glasses for that reason. And plan on regular use of sun glasses. Artificial lenses are wonderful but less protective of the eye. I like a wrap around kind that go on right over my glasses. Your doctor should give you a pair after surgery. Foster Grant makes a Polaroid pair that are great.

  • http://lifeiniambs@wordpress.com Chelsea Kolz

    Praying for your eyes!

  • http://lifeiniambs@wordpress.com Chelsea Kolz

    Praying for your eyes!

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I just can’t get past the idea of sticking things into my eyes.

    Anyhow, I pray it goes well and that you recover quickly.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I just can’t get past the idea of sticking things into my eyes.

    Anyhow, I pray it goes well and that you recover quickly.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Thanks for reminding me, I need to set up an appointment with my eye doctor, last year he said as soon as he got this new study thing lined up he was going to enroll me in it. They can actually build up cornia I guess. But I haven’t heard from him since. need to get on that. It is amazing the things they are able to do these days.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Thanks for reminding me, I need to set up an appointment with my eye doctor, last year he said as soon as he got this new study thing lined up he was going to enroll me in it. They can actually build up cornia I guess. But I haven’t heard from him since. need to get on that. It is amazing the things they are able to do these days.

  • MarkB

    May God guide the surgeon in this surgery. May He protect and keep you safe and bring healing to you.

  • MarkB

    May God guide the surgeon in this surgery. May He protect and keep you safe and bring healing to you.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    You don’t have a cataract. You have a rincoln continental.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    You don’t have a cataract. You have a rincoln continental.

  • http://trinityoshkosh.org Kelly James Leary

    God be with you and your family during this time. I pray that you recover quickly.

    kel

  • http://trinityoshkosh.org Kelly James Leary

    God be with you and your family during this time. I pray that you recover quickly.

    kel

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    Prayed for you as I awakened last night about 3AM, and this morning.

    God bless you dear friend,

    Grace

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    Prayed for you as I awakened last night about 3AM, and this morning.

    God bless you dear friend,

    Grace

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I too, pray all goes well, Dr. Veith. But also want to take this opportunity to ask if there is any way to get your book “Family Vocation” in an audio format for a blind member of my congregation. Or perhaps someone else can point me to a helpful resource for this. Thanks.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I too, pray all goes well, Dr. Veith. But also want to take this opportunity to ask if there is any way to get your book “Family Vocation” in an audio format for a blind member of my congregation. Or perhaps someone else can point me to a helpful resource for this. Thanks.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I’ve not yet gotten this, but everyone I know who has had it has about the same response: “Wow! Why didn’t I get this done five years back?” I pray your experience is the same.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I’ve not yet gotten this, but everyone I know who has had it has about the same response: “Wow! Why didn’t I get this done five years back?” I pray your experience is the same.

  • helen

    If you mean contact lenses, Dr. L, neither can I!

    I wasn’t looking forward to this surgery (although I had 30 years warning about one eye; it was very slow to develop.) But when everything gets a bit foggy, your favorite paperbacks are too hard to read, the computer automatically gets a font increase, there are “halos” around all the lights at night and you can’t read a street sign till it’s too late to turn, you will do it.

    But do research the doctor if you have to do this. I heard a couple of horror stories about others, but also some very good unsolicited accolades for the one I had chosen, which increased my confidence.

  • helen

    If you mean contact lenses, Dr. L, neither can I!

    I wasn’t looking forward to this surgery (although I had 30 years warning about one eye; it was very slow to develop.) But when everything gets a bit foggy, your favorite paperbacks are too hard to read, the computer automatically gets a font increase, there are “halos” around all the lights at night and you can’t read a street sign till it’s too late to turn, you will do it.

    But do research the doctor if you have to do this. I heard a couple of horror stories about others, but also some very good unsolicited accolades for the one I had chosen, which increased my confidence.

  • Jennifer Snyder

    Praying for a speedy recovery; a no- guilt rest is the best kind, but I often marvel that it takes an illness or treatment to make it happen!

  • Jennifer Snyder

    Praying for a speedy recovery; a no- guilt rest is the best kind, but I often marvel that it takes an illness or treatment to make it happen!

  • rlewer

    They can also try a fix on glaucoma while they are at . Mine worked great.

  • rlewer

    They can also try a fix on glaucoma while they are at . Mine worked great.

  • Rose

    May your sight always be as excellent as your vision for God’s work.
    I’m praying for you.

  • Rose

    May your sight always be as excellent as your vision for God’s work.
    I’m praying for you.

  • June Hensley

    Hi Gene, all will go really well! Mum has had lens transplants in both eyes back in the ’80′s and there’s been no problem. Lucky you if you maybe don’t need glasses! Our prayers are with you and I’m sure everything will work out beautifully.

  • June Hensley

    Hi Gene, all will go really well! Mum has had lens transplants in both eyes back in the ’80′s and there’s been no problem. Lucky you if you maybe don’t need glasses! Our prayers are with you and I’m sure everything will work out beautifully.

  • June Hensley

    I should have said Ed…I knew Gene sounded different!!!

  • June Hensley

    I should have said Ed…I knew Gene sounded different!!!

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