I thought if I conquered the next age-progressing rite of passage I wouldn’t need to write my articles in 18-point font.
But I was wrong. Here I sit hammering out action verbs and tense agreements with bold black, quarter inch letters two days after cataract surgery.
At least for a few more days.
My goal is to see golf balls as far as I can hit (at) them in beautiful, bright, 20/20 vision, again.
I’m not a hypochondriac, but I suspiciously began to see what appeared in my right eye to be a Vaseline-like smear too soon after two of my four golf partners had their first cataract surgeries.
Turns out, I wasn’t psycho or somatic. The annoying fuzzy eyeball was a fast grower not uncommon to our collective ages and otherwise healthy lifestyles.
In 1990, shortly before laser surgery became popular, I had radial keratotomy, RK for short.
The procedure, which made incisions with a diamond tip, microscopic scalpel had already been out for 20 years. The renowned Newport Beach doctor doing the deed had fixed the sight of more than 10,000 patients, including a number of friends, so I trusted him.
In one day, I went from being a 20/200 myopic in both eyes, to 20/20 in one eye and purposely 20/40 in the other eye so I could comfortably read in the years to come.
The myopia was completely gone. I could see clear to the back of the 747 aircraft I worked on at the time. I didn’t have to wear glasses to drive anymore, and most importantly, the procedure was supposed to serve me for the rest of my life.
But before age 40, words like “meniscus,” “arthritis” or “cataracts” just weren’t part of my everyday vocabulary.
Cataracts were for old dogs and 100-year-old grandpas.
Still, to allay the fears of future cateractees, who like me, might be a bit anxious about eyeball incisions and implantation of little lenses, let me say the operation, compared to hip and knee replacements is pretty anti-climatic.
The most annoying thing about the whole experience is the half dozen before and after surgery appointments.
Preparation included a trip to the primary care physician who referred the optometrist who referred the optomologist who would perform the surgery.
The optomologist explained everything in minute detail during the first visit, threw in a few eyeball-related jokes then proceeded to schedule numerous appointments with nurses and specialists who measured the eyeball, performed blood pressure tests, pre-pre op and pre-op, ad nauseum. Extra measurements were needed because having had RK 29 years ago, the doc wanted to be sure he got the correct strength of the lens he was going to insert.
Finally, the day of the surgery arrived.
And it was over.
It wasn’t scary at all. Sitting in the waiting room took longer than the length of the surgery.
Ultimately, the staff at the Torrance Surgery Center where Kaiser sends its cataract patients were professional and light-hearted.
The surgery itself: absolutely painless. No post eyeball throbbing or IV drip bruises.
The whole experience was so easy and conveniently predictable because of all the preparation. My doctor even gave himself a pat on the back because he calculated the strength of my lens right on target.
Shoot, I’d do it again in a California minute ... but only because I’ll have to—the other eyeball is going bye-bye, too.