Simanaitis Says

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MY NEW EYES

I’VE HAD MY new eyes for about a month now and I want to celebrate the talented people who made this possible. Here are tidbits on my experience with cataract surgery. 

The Cause. Mayo Clinic Health System describes this degradation of vision as “clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye.”

“Cataracts,” Mayo says, “are a normal aging change that happens to everyone. Cataract surgery is only performed when your cataracts affect your vision to the point that it interferes with your usual activities.” 

My Experience. A little more than a year ago, my LensCrafters ophthalmologist said I had traces of cataracts in both eyes and that surgery was likely in my future. I noticed nothing at first, but gradually my vision’s gray silken screen got more pronounced. 

Glare of opposing headlights made night driving less than pleasurable and, ultimately, less than advisable. Sun glare hampered reading street signs. At the other extreme, reading in anything but bright light became more difficult. 

Yep. I needed cataract surgery. The good folks of LensCrafters suggested NVision for the operations, and I scheduled the right eye for December 15, the left one for a week later.

Image from Mayo Clinic Health System,

My New Lens Choices. NVision’s Dr. Sheri Rowen described how she would remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear artificial one. These days, there’s a choice in this: A “basic lens” replaces the cloudiness. What NVision calls a “Lifestyle lens” can also rectify matters to the point of eliminating glasses or contacts. 

What with big round glasses having been my thing for years, I opted for basic lens, and Dr. Rowen said she’d strive for optimal distance vision. 

Did she ever!

The Operation. Easy-peasy, performed at an outpatient surgery center nearby: Walk-in to walk-out was around 2 1/2 hours; the procedure itself took around 15 minutes. 

The area around the eye is numbed, and there’s absolutely no pain. I recall seeing odd red and black figures moving around with the right eye, but only monochromatic meanderings with the left. It was suggested that maybe I was seeing reflections of the optical equipment in use. 

A New World. From the onset, it was a new world with vibrant colors and amazing acuity. My new eyes display a distance vision of 20/15. That is, to match my acuity at 20 ft, a person with average eyesight would have to be five ft closer. 

A blue sky is now BLUE, even here in occasionally smoggy southern California. Reds seem more striking as well. It’s like I’m on drugs. Computer screens, books, and newspapers have BLACK characters on WHITE background. Quite amazing. 

Drugstore glasses of 3.5 strength used to be my everyday distance wear. For close work, I had an online source for 5.0s. Now the 3.5s are a bit too strong for reading at ordinary distance. 

A Mini Book Review. As an example, back in cataract days Wife Dottie got me a copy of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Its tiny font convinced me the paperback was well nigh unreadable, even with my 5.0s. 

A couple days after the second eye’s surgery, I enjoyed the book with my 3.5s and finished it directly. By the way, it isn’t simply a recounting of the movie. Rather, it’s a highly entertaining assemblage of movie backstories.

Another Spiff. My new eyes display an unexpected benefit as reported by Everyday Health, December 13, 2021: “Cataract Removal Is Linked to Lower Risk of Dementia in Older Adults.” Don Rauf writes that “… for individuals who had their cataracts removed, the risk of developing dementia decreased by about 30 percent.” 

See JAMA Network for more details. Briefly, it’s suggested that “Visual impairment may lead to psychosocial difficulties, withdrawal from social interactions, and reduction in activity or exercise, all of which are associated with cognitive decline.” 

Also, tantalizing in light of my new appreciation of the color blue, the JAMA Network article notes, “Lower risk for developing dementia following cataract extraction may also be associated with increased quantity and quality of light. Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which are exquisitely sensitive to short-wavelength (blue) light, have been shown to be associated with cognitive function, circadian rhythm, and AD [Alzheimer’s Disease].” 

Yep. I’ve noted this with my new eyes: The kitchen stove’s blue flame looks particularly kewl. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022   

3 comments on “MY NEW EYES

  1. Bob Storck
    January 18, 2022

    Good for you!

    Too many procrastinate, then regret.

    • simanaitissays
      January 18, 2022

      I was encouraged by the positive experience of others. And by wanting to time-gobble on computers again….

  2. Jack Albrecht
    January 19, 2022

    This is another example of why I love this eclectic blog. My mom suffers from Alzheimer’s and my sister is worried about getting it (she’s over 50). I’ll pass this info on her! Thanks!

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