On Tuesday, January 30, after having the cataract removed from my right eye, and then the surgeon put in its place a new lens, I wondered how I would see the world for the next week, as I anticipated having the same procedure on my left eye, one week later. It certainly couldn’t be any more odd than it’s been the past four years, since the right eye first went out of focus, and then the cataract took over. Even with glasses, the right eye could not be corrected to 20/20. I have not been vision-happy.
The procedure proved short and pain-free. My doctor had told me that it takes ten minutes. It took but seven. The pre-op procedures—more eye drops than I have had in a lifetime—took most of the time, waiting for them to do their thing. Two hours after arriving, we were departing.
Arriving home from surgery, I knew that my right eye vision would be blurry for awhile, as the new lens settled into place. I felt the scratchy irritation of which I was warned and took the suggested acetaminophen. The nurse also advised that I immediately eat something—yes, ma’am!—so that I not experience nausea from the anesthesia, and then take a nap—gosh, I loved that nurse!
By late afternoon, my vision was clearing. By evening, I was telling Julie, “I can read this,” and “I can see that.”
I tried on my glasses. Nope, they would not work. The right eye was total fuzziness. This is the part that had given me pause; how was I going to cope for a week, with mismatched eyes. I might have to remove the right lens, which was one of the suggestions.
When I got up the day after surgery, I wondered how I would read my computer screen. For about ten years, I have had a pair of glasses just for the computer, with the prescription set for the distance between my face and the screen, because looking through either the top or bottom of my bifocals did not provide a clear view.
Getting into my morning routine, I sipped on my first cup of coffee as I loaded a web page. Headlines were easy to read. Now, to click a story and scan the smaller text.
There we go. How’s that? I blinked a few times. Wow! I could read it! With no glasses!
I closed my left eye, to test the right. The text was pretty clear, but not enough. I reversed the process. With my left eye, the text was pretty clear, but not enough. I returned to both eyes. Bingo! Clear text!
I couldn’t wait for Julie to arise, to tell her the good news. Now, I was wondering what my vision would be like out in the world, especially with reading traffic signs. We decided that as she drove to my follow-up appointment, we would compare at what point, as we neared signs, we could read them.
As we headed for the freeway, one side street after another lined our path, first Chatham, then Eastbourne, then Lesley. Onto Shady, and Autobon, and Priscilla. With each one, we called out, “Now!” And, with each one, we called out at exactly the same time.
I grew very excited. I was now thinking I didn’t need to have my left eye corrected, that my vision, with one eye more farsighted and the other more nearsighted, was close enough to 20/20 that I was good to go. Over the rest of the fifteen minute drive, I was equal parts antsy and excited to talk with the doctor.
First, with the specialist, everything showed that the eye was recovering well. We were ready for the doctor. Upon her arriving, I virtually took over the meeting. As I spoke, I stopped, saying, “Can you tell how excited I am? I am speaking so fast and too loudly.” “Yes,” she brightened. “It’s obvious.”
Onto the vision test. First, farsighted. I zipped down the lines of letters. When I got stuck, I asked, “Which line is that?” “20/20,” she replied. “You read fine up to 20/25.”
Next, nearsighted. Once again, I rushed down the rows. When they grew fuzzy, I received the same report; I was good to 20/25.
I asked, “That seems fine to me. Is that good enough?” Smiling at how excited I was, she replied. “Yes. We call it 20/happy.” We all laughed.
I have 20/happy vision!
I don’t need surgery next week. I can get along in the world without glasses for the first time in forty-five years. I don’t need to switch specs when I sit down at my computer. No more contact lenses, which work great when I get sweaty while running or mowing or working in the garden, but which don’t allow me to read the screen on my phone.
No more of my cool chick glasses.
I was in such elated disbelief that I cried tears of joy.
That’s the good news—the great news! For now, I will take it and rejoice in it. For now.
I still have the early stages of a cataract on my left eye. Most likely, in a year or two, it will cloud my vision enough that it will require addressing. When I have it repaired, I will need glasses for reading.
Until then, I have 20/happy vision, and I am indeed happy times 20!