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Seeing the Light

April 12, 2019

I can see!

 

This morning I had my day-after checkup for the YAG laser capsulotomy procedure I had on my right eye yesterday.

 

The YAG what?

 

The YAG laser capsulotomy procedure removes a film or secondary cataract that you can get following an initial cataract procedure. That secondary cataract can develop days later or years later (in my case, 3 years).

 

At my initial exam earlier this month, during which my right eye could barely make out the giant E through the fog, the technician asked how long I had been experiencing a problem with my vision.

 

Good question, I thought. I was hard pressed to give an answer.

 

Yes, my secondary cataract likely developed gradually. But how gradually? Over 3 months? 6 months? A year?

 

I honestly didn’t know. Why?

 

Because I had fallen into the trap that I warn others about who provide care for an elderly loved one: Pushing your own health needs aside in favor of the needs of that other person.

 

So, yes, I had noticed at some point that I just wasn’t seeing as well as I used to. But I barely gave it a thought. After all, I had much more pressing concerns to focus on, most of them related to my elderly mom.

 

When I did take a moment to think about it, at first I just assumed my eyes were tired. Maybe it was allergies. Maybe I just needed some eye drops.

 

Time passed, and my vision worsened. I seemed to be more challenged driving at night. It was becoming harder to read, even with my 1.75 reader glasses. Putting makeup on was becoming an adventure. To be honest, I was starting to feel a little disconnected from daily life just because my life didn’t seem to be in focus, so to speak.

 

So did I take action? Of course not. No time. No energy.

 

Then finally, one day, maybe when I was navigating another makeup adventure, I happened to pass my hand over my left eye. Guess what? I could barely see my own reflection in my 10x magnification mirror!!

 

NOW I sat up and took notice. It all became clear. I had the classic symptoms of a secondary cataract.

 

Finally, I put the wheels in motion. I showed up for the eye doctor appointment I made. I rescheduled the eye doctor appointment because I didn’t realize I needed a primary care referral. I made the primary care appointment, showed up, and got the referral. I went back to the eye doctor twice in 24 hours. Finally, victory!!

 

Is it overdramatic to say that it feels great to be able to see normally again? It does!!

 

Back to the technician’s question. How long have you been experiencing a problem with your vision?

 

If I were answering her now, I would say, “Too long.”

 

I’ll try not to make that mistake again.

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