Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

Eye surgery, take 3

I just scheduled another round of eye surgery for mid-January. This will be my third; I left both previous ones seeing notably better — by now this should be a yawn, right? But the fact of the matter is, it scares the bejesus out of me.

I have amblyopia, which went undetected until I was in second grade: far too late for wearing a patch over my normal eye to do any good, though that didn't keep them from trying. My left eye has always been essentially useless for anything other than peripheral vision. (Though I did just perform the experiment of covering my right eye and enlarging an 80x24 terminal window to fill my (27-inch, 2560x1440) screen — and discovered that I can read text that way. Sort of: it's very slow and painstaking  — well below reading-aloud speed. But a huge improvement over any previous generation of display technology I've tried that experiment with. Which is all of them.

So anything that puts my good eye at risk endangers not just my livelihood but pretty much everything I enjoy in life as well. Most of my life, the primary purpose of my wearing glasses has been the extra margin of safety they give my good eye. And every time they've caught something — a branch whipping across my face in the woods, a stray pebble thrown up by a passing car, and, once, when I was bicycling, a bumblebee I shared a disoriented eternal moment with, 'til it regained its composure enough to fly off, and I mine sufficiently to not crash into the ditch  — I've muttered a vague agnostic prayer of thanks.

So when I was diagnosed with cataracts five years ago, it freaked me the hell out. (Not, mind you, that I don't expect it would fail to freak anyone in their 40s the hell out.) And I spent the first six months of 2010 doing my damnedest to pretend I wasn't terrified. And apparently annoying the hell out of everyone around me.

The reason for my subsequent surgeries (number two and the upcoming third) is a complication of healing from the initial cataract surgery.* The short form being that occlusions form around the perimeter of my lens capsule, which cause glare and faint secondary images, mostly pertaining to bright objects in the dark. But increasingly (as is happening right now, in fact) it distracts from reading normal material in normal light (both pixels-on-screen and print-on-paper). So in one sense, I've known since maybe a year after my last surgery that I was going to have to go back for more. But now it's concrete.

I have, of course, done everything I can to stack the deck in my favor. Not only is my surgeon a Harvard Medical School Professor who teaches the procedure she'll be performing on me. There are a dozen or more of of those. Mine is the one of them personally recommended to me by the dean of American Ophthalmology. The one who's successfully operated on me twice before. The one I literally removed the lens from my eye and replace it with a new one while I was looking. The one who successfully performed this very same surgery on me once before. It is really very difficult to imagine how I could be in more capable hands. But that didn't keep me from twitching last time she operated on me, which of course is exactly the wrong fear response.

You know, the point of writing this was supposed to be that it would settle my nerves to share the stress. Not working so far.

* I'll have to ask my ophthalmologist, but I'm pretty sure what I have is the subject of this 400-page tome.
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