My Cataract Journey (Part 3: The Second Surgery)
The second surgery is done, and what a difference they’ve made in my life. I really didn’t realize how bad my vision was until I could see.
The first one went so well, with no expectations, and I thought this one would be the same. But even though I was already comfortable with the process of putting a gown over my clothes and getting the anesthesiologist ready to give me a relaxer, it was different.
I went into it with no anxiousness, but when I was wheeled into the operating room, it was different this time. I waited for the doctor to put the dot on my eye, but it was even harder because my eye kept blinking. We had to remap it several times. On the first surgery he got it done in one try.
We got all ready and he put a ring on my eye so I would keep it open while he did the surgery. But my eye would not accept it and the blinking continued. I was not able to hold focus on what was going on like in the first surgery. During the first one, I was so interested in the process and watching what was going on that it made me focus on that and nothing else. That didn’t happen this time.
When I got out of recovery, the doctor came in to make sure the eye was good. I told him this one was a little harder. He said I seemed a little more “blinky” than before. They had to give me a little more anesthesia to finish the job, but it all looked good. “See you tomorrow.” I went home to listen to the TV and waited for the morning.
Day 1 after Surgery
The next morning the right eye didn’t want to stay open. After 30-45 minutes it stayed open. But on the right side of my eye there was something in the way. I couldn’t tell what it was until I looked in the mirror and saw the eyelid was swollen and hanging down in my peripheral vision. That’s what I was seeing. Then I remembered that the doctor said the eye would be swollen, since he had to spend a little more time putting the lens in. When my eye was fluttering, he had to keep putting water in it to help the placement of the lens.
I went to the doctor and could already see 20/20 out of the right eye. I was using the eye drops every four hours. I can now see without my glasses except for small print on my phone. The doctor said that may come after some time, or I could use readers for the small print.
I got a good eight hours of sleep and the eye still didn’t want to stay open, since it had been closed all night with a patch. When it did stay open, there was a little fluttering on the right side where the incision was, but not too bad. Vision was clearer. Then water started draining out of my eye, getting rid of all the water the doctor had to add during the surgery. The eye is a little scratchy.
Vision is still a little blurry, but getting better. I did a little too much today and the eye began to hurt in the afternoon. I closed it for an hour, then it was better.
There is still a little fluttering in the right eye by the incision. Everything is so bright I have to wear sunglasses everywhere. I’m still sleeping with the patch on, but both eyes opened at the same time for the first time. I have a schedule with the eye drops, because we’re doing two eyes on different schedules.
I’m able to read without my glasses, and each day it’s getting easier to read. It’s so clear now.
End of Week 1
After one week, I’m back to the eye doctor. It was the first time I had driven that far, and was a little nerve-racking. But I made it. Another milestone checked off the list.
We had planned on going to the bay to fish and I asked the doctor about that. He was emphatic that no water was to get into the eye. So, I found a pair of fishing glasses that were secured all around the eye from top to bottom and side to side. No salt was getting into these eyes. The weather didn’t cooperate, so no fishing. But I’m ready with my new non-prescription glasses.
Another week goes by. That means it has been one month since the left eye was done. No more drops for that eye.
Three weeks later I’m back to the doctor to hopefully get released to do more things. We are not flying right now, but will be able to after this.
Both eyes looked good. I can read five lines down on the chart with both eyes. Woo-hoo! I asked him when I could shoot, and he said to wait a bit longer. We’ve talked to some of our students who had this surgery, and they were given the okay earlier. But most of them waited at least a month after the second surgery. So, I decided that would be a wise thing to do.
I waited another week before giving a lesson, and was shocked to be able to see the shot going to the target. I had not seen that in a year, so it was exciting to be able to see it again. The colors were so vivid and bright that I had to wear my dark sunglasses to not squint.
I waited another two weeks, then Gil and I went to the range and I shot with my 28-gauge. It was amazing to see the target so clear and be able to see the whole shot come together for the first time in over a year. I did not realize how bad my vision had gotten until this day, when I could see everything so clearly.
I was afraid that my eyes might hurt a little bit after shooting three boxes of shells, but they were fine. We went out the next day with my 28 and 12-gauge guns. I shot mostly my 28-gauge, but wanted to see how I did with the 12. Other than getting really tired, (I had not shot that gun in 10 months) after one box of shells, I was done.
The next morning my eyes seemed to hurt just a bit, but I kept them closed for a while and then they were just fine. It was another week before we got back out there. I shot my 12-gauge for four boxes and everything was great. No pain the next morning.
My takeaway from the training was everything was so clear that the target seemed to just float to the gun. Left-to-right targets were the same as right-to-left, since I now didn’t have to come in from underneath the target coming from the right. That was a very confusing picture before the surgery. The gun would come up and the left eye couldn’t see anything. The target would disappear, the picture was different, and it didn’t make any sense.
Now the eyes are working together and I can see everything. The left eye has just a little bit of fuzzy vision, but the doctor said not to worry about that. It might go away, or, if not, he could do a small procedure to make it go away. That’s fine with me. I can see great, which is a true pleasure.
Over the years, we’ve discussed cataract surgery and how it affects shooting performance afterwards. 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.