Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Eye see



I had my first eye surgery (for cataracts) at the end of last week and I can see better out of my left eye now than I have for over 50 years. Yes, I have been very short sighted for a very long time, that is when you have difficulty seeing your hand in front of your face and don't even ask about the distance. My standard answer to someone who asks me how far down the eye chart can you read is, what chart? Even so, glasses and contact lens have allowed me to see quite well for most of that time.


I needed surgery because my eyesight had been deteriorating so quickly that practically speaking it was no longer correctable: by the time I got a new prescription filled my eyes were slipping again. So I was over the moon when I found out that there was not only an explantion but also a solution.


The first day after my surgery, I got up, took the protective patch off and I could see well enough
with the one eye to have my breakfast and read the newspaper without corrective lenses. I was thrilled. To top it off the day was bright and beautiful, so I put a contact lens in the other eye (better balance when both eyes see) and went out with my camera.


Everyone that I knew that had had cataract surgery said, you will be amazed, it is as if your colours come back. I thought that my colour perception was pretty good still, but the difference for me was light!



Yes light and depth,  things are definitely not just two dimensional any more, the shadows, the shapes, the perspective have all changed dramatically.

My walk took me to a nearby park, where I was overwhelmed by the beauty and light. In some ways it was as if I was seeing it for the first time.

The cherry trees were blooming and I took picture after picture of the blossoms and drank in the subtle perfume.





Here is a little background on what a cataract is from Wikipedia:

"Cataract surgery is the removal of the natural lens of the eye (also called "crystalline lens") that has developed an opacification, which is referred to as a cataract. Metabolic changes of the crystalline lens fibers over time lead to the development of the cataract and loss of transparency, causing impairment or loss of vision. Many patients' first symptoms are strong glare from lights and small light sources at night, along with reduced acuity at low light levels. During cataract surgery, a patient's cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens to restore the lens's transparency."

"Following surgical removal of the natural lens, an artificial intraocular lens implant is inserted (eye surgeons say that the lens is "implanted"). Cataract surgery is generally performed by an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) in an ambulatory (rather than inpatient) setting, in a surgical center or hospital, using local anesthesia (either topical, peribulbar, or retrobulbar), usually causing little or no discomfort to the patient. Well over 90% of operations are successful in restoring useful vision, with a low complication rate. Day care, high volume, minimally invasive, small incision phacoemulsification with quick post-op recovery has become the standard of care in cataract surgery all over the world."

Here is my rather unscientific explanation of myopia, as I understand it when a person is myopic, or short sighted, the eyeball instead of being round is instead oblong, so when the light or image enters the eye it doesn't focus on the retina (the eye's "big screen" at the back) instead it focuses somewhere in front of it and things look blurry. This can be corrected with either glasses or contact lenses that are thinner in the middle, and thicker at the edges (think Coke bottle maybe) which lenghtens the focal length so the light or image reaches the retina, or close to it, an the image is sharper.

In cataract surgery since the natural lens is being replaced anyway it is an opportunity to replace it with one that also corrects vision. Yipee!

We have three fields of vision, close, middle and distance. When we get older most of us start having problems seeing closeup, and as a result wear glasses for close work or reading. When vision is corrected with a replacement lens, as I understand it, you can have your vision corrected for close and middle or for middle and distance. I have chosen to have one eye corrected for close and middle and the other for middle and distance and hope to be able to have the two work together to see almost everything clearly. That's the plan anyway.


So to get back to walking in the park, the trees, the blossoms, the birds it was wonderful to see things more clearly, and should be even better when my second eye surgery is complete.

Being very short sighted has another odd complication and that is that after one eye is corrected with an implanted lens the image size that I see with that eye is different than the size of the other eye with the contact lens on the surface of the eye. At first I wasn't walking in a straight line at all, but I am getting more used to the sensation; for this reason the surgeon tries to do the surgeries fairly close together.


Enough said? Come and enjoy the blossoms with me.









"You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle."
Paulo Coelho

Somehow I don't think I am going to take seeing well for granted, it is a wonderful gift and I am most grateful to have it.

I did manage to finish off the painting I started last week and I have been working on a couple of new ones. Here is the finished watercolour "Spring Tulips":

"Spring Tulips"

That's all for today, thanks for dropping by, Happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week.............


















66 comments:

  1. Congratulations Gillian! No wonder you're up so early - to catch the first light...My sister had the same rapid deterioration and had both surgeries last November. It must be better than wonderful to see so clearly now. What amazes me is seeing your detailed paintings - the tulips are lovely.

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  2. oh, gillian! how fantastic for you! i cannot imagine what you must be feeling! well, i can - based on the beauty you conveyed in your photos - and your gorgeous painting. SO happy for you! :)

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  3. Oh thank you for bringing the cherry blossoms into my home today! I just missed the blooming blossom boom by leaving Vancouver a week ago. The light in your tulips painting brings a real vibrancy to it. Things are looking good--in more ways than one.

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  4. I sense the joy in your words. How wonderful about your improved sight! I, too, have had long life issues with my eyes but it seems at the moment cataracts are not the problem. I have heard from people who had the surgery and how things improved. Sometimes we are blinded not only through poor vision but other health issues and sometimes we are blinded by attitudes that hide the magic all around. I think you have always seen the magic and it shows in your art.

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  5. How wonderful, I have heard amazing stories of this surgery. My Dad has had both eyes done, and a Uncle said that the colors are now so vibrant, and he is a painter.

    Sorry I get queasy over the description Lol. But it sounds like it really is working.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  6. I can feel your joy! How wonderful that you can see well now. I have a good friend who just had cataract surgery yesterday. I'll be interested in hearing what she has to say too.

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  7. I'm so glad the eye surgery went well. I hope that it will all turn out to be a big improvement. I've had to wear glasses since 2nd grade and at this point wear trifocals so I can relate.

    I love the shots of the beautiful cherry blossoms. Your painting is a delight too.

    Fascinating post.

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  8. I'm so pleased your operation was a success , that's wonderful that your vision has improved. Beautiful blossom photos - very delicate. Your Paul Corello quote resonated with me and smiled when I saw the words 'seeing each day' in a row!

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  9. Your photos of the blossoms are beautiful. I'm so glad you have had such wonderful success with the cataract operation. I'm also glad you have shared it here as I have a number of friends that it didn't work quite so well with - and my optician says I am facing it sometime ahead. So thanks for your good news post!

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  10. I am so happy that the eye surgery went well. That is great news. Lovely blossoms and photos. Take care and have a great day!

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  11. That surgery makes a lot of people smile. Glad you can see clearly with lots of spring colors around you. Your pictures are beautiful. Your tulips are lovely....I'm sure the surgery is going to make a huge difference on your work:)

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  12. Oh Gillian, this is great news for you! I just can't imagine your glee!

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  13. Such beautiful clarity on those flower shots. I had cataract surgery on both eyes, two weeks apart, two years ago. I still do not need glasses. But am finding with photography, I might need glasses just for looking through the lens. But it is nice not having to wear glasses all the time. I was surprised you were able to go out after the first day.

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  14. oh the blooms are just gorgeous and lucky you to get the help you needed for better vision!!

    i liked the coelho quote!!

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  15. I’m happy for you that your cataract surgery went well and you are now so comfortable with your eyes. I have a slight cataract as an aging process. The time for surgery is when I feel uncomfortable. “one eye corrected for close and middle and the other for middle and distance” is a good idea, I’ll borrow it sometime in future. The white blossoms are awesome!

    Yoko

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  16. What a joyful post, Gillian. Your blossom photos caught the "miracle" of subtle differences in shade and light, and you were "paying attention" - something you always do so well. I am thrilled that you were able to keep up with your painting and photography so soon after the surgery. The information on cataracts and your "unscientific" explanation of myopia were both easy to understand and informative. Just a remarkable post in so many ways!

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  17. I just love coming to your post you always have something interesting for me to read.. I just love that. So glad your surgery went well.. I can't see a thing with out my glasses.. But I don't have cataracts..
    And your painting is amazing it is so beautiful. You are so good at that!!

    Hugs, Linda

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  18. I'm glad the surgery went well. I'm happy for you dearThe photos are magnificent! God will be blessing you for sure!
    Kisses BShell

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  19. Well, you had an eye surgery, well, you were a good photographer, now, you have two very good eyes.

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  20. Your images are breathtakingly beautiful
    and I'm so happy you're now able to see so clearly..
    and just in time for Spring!

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  21. Such good news to hear about your improved eyesight!

    Love love these photos too.

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  22. gorgeous blooms. And I am happy your eye-sight is improving. :)

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  23. Patty, my wife of 56 years, had her cataract surgery about a year ago and doesn't need glasses now. Though she does use cheap magnification glasses when she has to read something really tiny.

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  24. Wow!wow!wow! a big hug from me.
    I am as blind as a bat without my glasses but my eyesight is fine with them on.. I would never have guessed you had any problems viewing your images..if you have mentioned it before I apologize for missing (or forgetting)the posts.
    You really must be head over heals.. another big hug.
    Drew xx

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  25. Great story. How scary for an artist photographer to lose their sight. Spring is a good time to be seeing clearly again:)

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  26. Dear Gillian, Great that your surgery went so well and that you can see again! I wonder how this will affect your painting. Lovely blooms and your tulip watercolor is beautiful.

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  27. I am so happy for you. I remember how clear and bright everything looked when I first got glasses. This is something I may be looking at in a few years. You sure found some beautiful blossoms with your new and improved eye. ;)

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  28. Gillian, I am so glad that your surgery went well and you are out and about with your camera. Your photos are stunning. Can't wait to see what you do with them!

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  29. Oh I am sooooo Happy for you!!
    and
    Your tulip painting is absolutely exquisite!!

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  30. How wonderful, beautiful, and springy! In the meantime, we are still awaiting a real spring.

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  31. Gillian, congratulations on your successful cataract surgery! I cannot imagine not being able to see! The apple blossoms are gorgeous as well as your painting! Thank you for all your recent visits to my blog!

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  32. Gillian, I am so thrilled that you eye surgery went well. How exciting it must be for you to see clear and vibrant colors. I am sure it opens up a whole new world for you. The apple blossom photographs featured in this joyous blog are exquisite! Thank you for sharing such beauty!

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  33. Wonderful news, so pleased it has made a great inference for you. Your paintings are so amazing I would never have guessed you have vision difficulties. I very much appreciate having good vision, especially when it comes to photography.

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  34. Glad the surgery has worked for you. Your photos and paintings are beautiful!

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  35. Excellent little delicate macro shots. Spring always brings such hope for the future.

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  36. That is indeed a wonderful gift. I'm so thrilled for you. A friend of mine has had the same procedure you're describing for both eyes.. one set for reading - the other for distance and she says it's like magic. I find it difficult to fathom your vision problems when you create such beautiful art. Your blossom photos are lovely as your tulip art.

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  37. So happy for you, and so grateful for those beautiful blossoms you shared. Your tulip painting is lovely!

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  38. Hope every thing is alright with you, dear!
    BIG HUg
    BShell

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  39. hope your better now. nice words from paulo

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