Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Under the Knife

I'm having cataract surgery in my right eye tomorrow morning. I've had them (noticeably anyway) since I was about 30, but they weren't initially in the path of light travelling through my eyes.. It's to the point now where it just bad.. so out they go. The left eye will get done in just over 2 weeks.

I know it's the most common surgery performed in the US every year. It still makes me very nervous. Once the natural lens is crushed up and suctioned out, there's no going back.

It wasn't that long ago.. certainly in my parent's life-time, that when you had cataract surgery, they didn't replace the natural lens that gets removed and you were left with very poor vision and had to use high powered glasses to see. Fortunately, it's not like that anymore. Also, fortunately, I can afford the very best replacement lenses - so I should end up with really good vision at all distances. The replacement lens is designed to flex to focus just like the natural lens. The results are better for some people than others.. but the percentages are very favorable. The actual lens is the Crystalens AO. Depending on how my near vision turns out, I may have the Crystalens HD in the other eye if near needs a boost, otherwise another AO.

I've kept thinking that at age 43, I could wait for even better treatments to come in the future, but in the meantime I'd be losing out on seeing everything clearly just on the off chance that some new lens would become available. So.. I have waited until this point, and it seems like a good time to have it done.. at least according to my doctor.. who obviously has a financial motive to do it. He says that 10 years ago I would have had a mono focal lens implanted, and if I wait 10 years longer, there won't be much improvement in the lenses. So this is it.

Besides, it is possible to remove the implanted lens. The doctor says it's tricky and not something to be done unless absolutely necessary.. but in 20 years, if they have something super awesome (bionic implants!) I could have new implants. Since these lenses are so new, and I have a lot of living left to do, there is no data on how the lenses will perform for 40+ years that I'll have them in.

My Mega-Corp provided health plan doesn't cover the premium implant.. at all. I have to pay the entire cost out of pocket ($6400 for the 2 lenses, plus all the other expenses). Medicare would at least pay the amount they would for the traditional style implant, but of course I don't have Medicare. My Mega-Corp provided health insurance plan sucks.. but then they are in business to make a profit and by not paying a single dime towards the implants I (and my doctor) have chosen, they get to pay their shareholders a few extra percentages of a penny this year..

I'm a bit nervous about it.. and I won't be able to go to the gym for about a month and a half (darn!) while healing.. but I'm also hoping it turns out great and I'm shocked at how much I was missing before.

I'm very thankful for the science and scientists that will be able to help me. Praying won't help me see. Scripture won't help focus light on my retina properly. The application of the scientific method, and the very smart people who have worked very hard to figure this stuff out are what is going to help me see better. I know there are risks, and I know it may not be a perfect outcome, but I trust these people to do their very best.

Doesn't mean I'm not going to take a black marker and draw an arrow on my face pointing to my right eye though.. lol


The primary reason my blog is white letters on a black background is because of the high contrast is easier for me to read. Maybe when I have good vision again, I might redesign it.. but then I like the banner and some of the other stuff, so who knows.


kris said...

I would be very scared so I salute your bravery.

You are right about the technology and the science - not only is this treatment remarkable but it's now also routine. They do this stuff all the time and it is safe.

Well done and have a speedy recovery.

Kor said...

I'm trying to find a screen cap of the scene in First contact of the drill about to go into Patrick Stewart's eye...

Tom said...

One of these people is warm and caring.. and one is an evil bitch.


I'm actually pretty stoic about most things, but having some guy jamming things into my eyeball is just so..