Thursday, March 23, 2017

The one thing you should definitely ask about your cataract surgery

Three weeks ago yesterday I had the first of two cataract surgeries. My left eye was the first to go under the knife as it were and it went off without a hitch. Except for one thing: I have double vision as a result of the nerve block used to anesthetize the eye. 

A week later, at my post-op evaluation the doctor suggested that the issue was caused by the use of an injectable anesthetic and decided that we would go with a topical anesthetic for the right eye, which was done just a week ago this past Wednesday. That, too, went off with no problem.

I can see crystal-clear out of both eyes it's just they don't "see" things quite together. They don't track in synch as it were. It's pretty much all the time although depends on which way I tilt my head or how far away an object is. Closing one eye is the only concrete solution for the moment.

I bring all this up for the benefit of anyone who might be faced with cataracts and the need to remove them -- after all, some 4 million Americans last year alone had cataract surgery. The information provided before the procedures and the evaluations performed by both technicians and physicians covered pretty much every issue but one: I was never asked if I wanted a nerve block (injecting an anesthetic) or a topical anesthetic. 

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but had I been asked I would have opted for the topical, out of queasiness over having someone stick a needle in (or even close) to my eye if nothing else. As it turned out I didn't feel anything at the time although others in the room where I was prepped certainly did. 

But the important thing is while the incidence of nerve damage from an anesthetic block is considered to be very low -- so we were told after the fact -- still, it's good to be given the option of going topical. And I must say topical worked just fine for my right eye.

So now I'm faced with the possibility of some days, weeks, or months before I regain my proper focus. Or it may never return. But I'm hoping for the best. 

And so should you.

Just ask, that's all.

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