In this episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Mary who was diagnosed with cataracts (partial or complete cloudiness in the eye, sensitivity to light or glare, and double vision in a single eye). While most people are expected to have cataracts around the age of 75, Mary started experiencing symptoms specific to cataracts in her mid-sixties.
Prior to the decision to get cataract surgery, Mary was diagnosed with lattice degeneration which means her retina was stretched and caused her vision to be nearsighted, gradually deteriorating her eyes’ ability to see clearly. Mary was reluctant to pursue the cataract surgery as it would require heavy work on her retina, making her a high-risk patient. She finally decided to undergo the surgery years after the initial diagnosis when her ophthalmologist stated that her left eye’s vision worsened to 20/300.
Mary was paired with an ophthalmologist specializing in delicate and torn retinas. She was given the choice of Toric lenses that would not only correct her sight but fix her astigmatism as well.
A lot of excitement and anticipation welled up inside Mary on surgery day and she recounts the experience as quick and efficient. During the surgery, her eye was propped open, and she describes that she was unable to see or feel the procedure. She reminds future patients to have someone there who can drive them home.
Right after the surgery, she was instructed to wear an eye shields while constantly wetting her eyes with drops. She recalls being able to see all the way out of the window the first time she took off her shields. Mary emphasizes the impact the effect of surgery and the care doctors at Group Health took to ease her into this somewhat frightening situation. Mary suggests that “listen to your doctor and you won’t have any trouble.” She is thankful for the improvement not only in vision, the enhancement of colors, but also how this change has contributed to her happiness in life.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The symptoms of cataracts
- Overcoming fear of eye surgery
- Receiving the care that you need
Thank you for listening!
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When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.