Kimberly (kimberly_a) wrote,

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Monovision! Coming soon to an eyeball near you!

I saw my surgeon today for my second post-operative appointment, and I was telling her about the problems I've been having with reading—being pretty much helpless without the reading glasses for a thousand things each day—and she told me that this type of reaction is actually fairly common for people with severe myopeia when they have cataract surgery. She said that she just saw a patient yesterday—a middle-aged man—who was on the verge of tears when he was talking about his own experience with this. It was a relief to hear that I haven't been overreacting & just needing to get over myself & shut up & learn to deal with something that every other old person deals with just fine without complaining. It was a relief to hear that yes, this transition actually is much more difficult for people with near-sightedness as severe as mine. I am not just a whiny little bitch! And I am not alone!

So she told me that I might want to consider having the vision in my right eye (which goes under the knife tomorrow at noon) set to not match the left eye exactly and instead moving the focal point a little closer. We wouldn't do it enough to give me perfect reading vision, but I would be able to hold something at arm's length and puzzle it out in a pinch if I didn't have reading glasses handy.

After extensive optometrical shenanigans & discussion of what stuff I would like to be able to do but currently can't, she came up with a contact lens that would approximate a potential focal point for my right eye, and I tested it out for half an hour or so. I looked at things close up and looked out windows. I played a bit with my iPod Touch. I walked around the little courtyard garden outside their office & went up and down several stairs. I just generally tested out what it would be like if we made the right eye a bit different, and it seems to work just fine. My depth perception was definitely off, but I said I thought that I would adjust to that within a couple days. The doctor responded that actually, in her experience, people's depth perception adapts within a few hours.

So we've unexpectedly changed our plan for tomorrow! Now I'm going to have a lens put in my right eye that is focused -1.50 different from my left eye, whatever that means. Apparently it's a pretty average difference for people who decide to have their two eyes set differently, and it's a difference that most people find fairly easy to adapt to. The difference between the two eyes will not be extreme, but my eyes will definitely be different.

I'm extremely excited about this, about the prospect of being less relient on these darn reading glasses! Seeing into the distance without a cataract is wonderful, of course, and the scientific advances that led to reading glasses are also wonderful ... but it's not so wonderful when I can't see anything closer than 2 1/2 feet away without those wonderful glasses. I think this will be much better & I'll be much happier than if I had the right eye set the same as the left.

Doctors can't predict the results of lens replacement surgery precisely, but after tomorrow's procedure I should be able to see things as close as 16 inches or so. I'll still need reading glasses for actual reading, but I won't need them every 3 seconds like I have for this past week. I will, for example, most likely be able to turn on the oven unaided.

Apparently, they call this whole eyes-not-having-the-same-focal-point thingy "monovision." It sounds very cinematic. Coming Soon to a Kimberly Near You!
Tags: cataracts, doctors, eyes, hypochondria, reading, surgery, vision

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