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My Cataract Journey (Part 1)

In 2018, my eye doctor told me I was developing a cataract on my left eye, but at that point, it was not bad enough to do anything about it. In early 2019, I knew my vision in my left eye was getting worse, but I thought it wouldn’t bother me. Boy, was I wrong about that.

Last July, when we went for our yearly visit, I couldn’t make out anything with my left eye because the vision had deteriorated so much. But because the right eye was sharp with the corrected lens, we were going to wait until they both got bad so the doctor could do both within two weeks. It is amazing how the brain can adjust and put the two images together so I could function for another year.

We went to Nationals in October and I had many issues with targets coming right to left. Finally, we figured out what was happening. On right to left targets, I had to come in from underneath the target, match the speed, come online, and send the shot. Of course, we didn’t figure it out until after Nationals.

In December, my left eye was very blurry and sometimes it hurt to open it. But one day I found that the eyes weren’t working together. When I looked at something on TV, half was blurry and half was sharp. “Hmm… I have always been able to make the two images come together. But not today.”

When walking, it felt like I was listing to the right. My depth perception was getting really bad. When I parked the car, I always had to get in and then straighten it up. When driving, I had to be super aware of the right white line to stay in the lane. By the time we got somewhere, my eyes were exhausted.

At the Advance School this March, I tried to demo some shots but lost the target when the gun came into the picture. So, it was back to the 3-Bullet Drill and Flashlight Drill. That helped for a while. But then we had the Kiowa Creek clinic in May and a clinic in Minnesota in June and I stopped demonstrating any shots.

Because of Covid, all the doctors’ offices were closed except for emergencies, so I was unable to go see our eye doctor. But after a trip to East Texas, I realized that I needed to get in to see the doctor since this issue was affecting my ability to coach – not to mention my life! I went in to see him and he was amazed how the right eye had changed and the vision had deteriorated so badly in such a short amount of time.

We scheduled the surgeries – June 24 for the left eye and July 8 for the right. Not being in “Covid mode,” all three of us went to Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club. When I went for my pre-op on June 17, they asked me, “Have you been out of the state in the last 30 days?” Why, yes, I had. New ballgame. Everything had to be put off for a week. Damn Covid…

So, now the eyes were really not working together. When they asked me what I could see on the chart, my answer was the big “E” at the top and that was all. I guess I was ready to get this done.

The first of July was the chosen date for surgery on the left eye. And so begins my journey with a new lens and eye drops. They will remain a big part of my life for the next six weeks.

Over the years, we’ve discussed cataract surgery and how it affects shooting performance afterward. If you’re a member of the Knowledge Vault and want to know more, we discuss the topic in-depth in the November 2017 Coaching Hour, as well as in July of that year.