Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cataract Surgery: It's REALLY BRIGHT out there!

I had no idea I had cataracts until about 2 years ago when my optometrist informed me that they were starting to show up. Since, for most people, cataracts grow slowly, he told me I'd have nothing to worry about for several years. However, I am not most people, and mine responded like Creeping Buttercup on MiracleGro. My surgeries were done in July.

Let me say again that I hadn't a clue that my eyesight was impaired more than needing distance glasses and reading glasses . . . and computer glasses (that also doubled as my "cooking glasses" for chopping and measuring, etc.). But after the first surgery (on the particularly bad left eye), trite or not, a whole new world opened up! My eyes became a kind of toy: I'd go around covering up one eye and then switching. The difference was stunning! My "new" left eye beheld a bright--almost too bright--world with whites whiter than I remembered. Colors popped, especially pinks, reds, and blues. When I changed and looked through my right eye alone it was as if a dull, brownish haze had settled over everything. I walked around shifting hands and eyes and laughing like some sort of demented eye-chart patient.

For this blog, I'd wanted to find images for before-and-after examples of my pre- and post-surgical light and color vision, but that wasn't really possible. Although I shoot a lot of my macro pictures in manual, I still rely on at least some exposure information from my camera. And later, when I did post-processing in Lightroom, the Histogram (a graph display of brightness levels) kept me from blowing out (over-exposing and washing out) the whites when I tried to increase the exposure of images that looked awfully dark to me. As for color, I guess I mostly just accepted what I saw.


What I've done here is use images I took between the two surgeries (yes, I had to go back and forth between my eyes) to attempt to give you an idea of the change. A little extreme, maybe, but not too terribly far off the mark.

As mentioned above, blues and reds, pinks and purples all popped. Greens didn't change that much. But everything was brighter, MUCH brighter.

While I am ecstatic about the almost psychedelic world I'm now seeing (I really do walk around saying "oh wow, like wow"), I'd opted for vision correction in addition to cataract removal. So one less pair of glasses is one or two more procedures away, and, right now, none of my glasses work. The world is bright, colorful, but not as clear as it will be.  
Something more to look forward to.