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Friday, August 08, 2014

24 Hours After the MultiFocal Lens was Installed In My Eye

The marker over my right eye reminds the doctor to not do the wrong one. You can see my right pupil dilated wide open. You can almost see my cataract.

Praise the miracles of modern science and medicine.  For 66 years I relied on my right eye to explore this world. Since birth my left eye has been simply a placeholder - a rock the doctor calls it. So you can imagine my concern when the doctor said my right eye's lens was cloudy and I should replace it. After much hand wringing I decided to have the operation. 

Here the doctor is slipping the new MultiFocal lens into my eye.

Yesterday at this time I was on the operating table - with Dr Richard Palmer hunched over the microscope controlling the insertion of my new multifocal lens. The operation took 15 minutes- I was awake the entire time - and I walked off the table when it was done. The procedure is simple enough - they pounce a needle into the eye - it acts as a vacuum to suck out the old lens. Then they slide the new lens down the needle like a rolled up carpet. Finally the doctor unfurls the new lens. The cornea remains intact and pressure holds the lens in place.

For the last 5 years I wore a bifocal contact lens - simply a lens with an extra circle around the edge for reading. It worked well - but what a pain it is taking care of contact lens. The new MultiFocal lens is simply several concentric lens each one for a different viewing distance. The thicker ones are for up close vision - the thinner ones are for far vision. Just like a camera - you choose the lens - automatically. 

They gave me great medication - but I was awake the whole time.

In a way the cataract was a blessing - because it made it necessary to replace my lens. Some people think a cataract is a growth on the eye - but it is just the lens itself discoloring with age. Mine is gone now - and you can call me the bionic man. It used to be like looking through a brown bag filter.

Medicare will pay $900 to replace a lens with a single vision lens - good for far vision. You still would need glasses to read. The Multi-Focal lens cost an extra $2600 - that comes out of your pocket. I tried to bargain with the doctor with little success. 

I am typing this story on my desktop iMac. My pupil is still dilated so my vision was tested this morning at 20/25. The doctor was sure I would hit 20/20 or better. I remember Chuck Yeager the famous pilot from The Right Stuff - he had 20/5 vision. During the war he could pounce on Nazi pilots and see them from 20 miles away. 

16 years ago - Dr Don Newman did Lasik surgery on Lulu's eyes. She was blind as a bat since birth - and just last month her eyes were tested at 20/20. At that time the surgery was $8000 for 2 eyes and no medical insurance covered it. It was the best money we ever spent - except Lulu finally got to see what she married - and it was too late.

I will keep you posted on how it goes. 

The smile says it all - the drugs have kicked in.

The lens is a piece of plastic the size of a pencil eraser. The little wings keep it in place by pressure from the cornea.

I can count 9 concentric lens rings. It is all automatic - your brain decides which ring to use. 

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