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Today in My History

2001:  Princess in the Kitchen
2002:  Where's the Nearest Offramp?
2003:  In a Fog
2004:  Animal Planet
I recommend...
2006:  Kymm for a Day
2007The Latest on My Mother
2008:  Russell Crowe is Hot
2009:  Back to Normal
2010:  The Mother of Invention
2011:  Oh Poop
Day Two
2013: Harumph!

Bitter Hack
Updated: 1
Woodland Honors
Opera House Treasure
(feature story)

Books Read in 2014
"Day of the Locust"

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mail to Walt


18 January 2014

I usually have an eye exam around the time of my birthday.  This year it was particularly important because I have to renew my driver's license by my birthday next month and over the past year, the cataract in my right eye has expanded so much that it is obstructing my vision to such a degree that "cheating" on the eye exam may be difficult.

I should explain, again, that I have never had usable vision in that eye.  I didn't really know why until I met with the doctor who did the cataract surgery in my left eye several years ago.  He told me -- the very first doctor since my first eye doctor in 1953 -- that there is a congenital malformation in the eye, in addition to the astigmatism.  So it's not that I just have bad vision in that eye, but it's also so misshapen (which isn't visible to the naked eye) that in order to remove the cataract in the right eye would take three surgeries.

We decided then that since I have never used that eye for usable vision, there was no reason to go through that extensive correction.  Should something have happened to my left eye, for example, when I was driving, I had enough usable vision in the right eye that I could see enough to drive to the next off ramp.

It's difficult to explain how I see through that eye.  I am aware that there is some vision there, but since I'm not really using it, my body automatically closes my eye most of the time.  The automatic eye closure has become more often in the last year because I can see that the cataract now covers most of my eye, so that when I close my left eye, all I really see out the right eye is this thick cloud.

At my last appointment a year ago, the doctor and I talked about the right eye again.  This was a new to me doctor and she said that with new techniques it could probably be corrected in only two surgeries.  But the cataract was still on one side of the eye and she agreed with me that there was no need to deal with it unless it started to bother me.

Well, now it's bothering me, a little.  When my body lets my eyelid stay open, I am always aware of the cloud on my right side, so I decided it was time to discuss what exactly would be involved in correcting it (at age almost-71 I wonder what it would be like to have usable vision in that eye.  Imagine--depth perception!   Whoda thunk!)

I also wanted to get a note from the doctor that I was safe to drive with only one eye, in case the DMV decided to give me a hard time about it.  I've been doing it all my life, but I was concerned that this might be the year that they would disqualify me if they know I am not using my right eye.

I left in plenty of time to get to Sacramento in time, and, in fact, sat in the car for about 20 minutes listening to my audio book.

The nurse dilated my eyes, though they never get as dilated as most people's, a doctor told me once.  I was able to continue to read while the pupils were dilating and though I was glad I had my sunglasses with me, I could have driven home without them, if necessary.

The doctor's exam was thorough and confirmed everything I'd been thinking.  We talked for a long time about possible surgery.  She speculates that if I had lived some 60 years without anybody telling me about this congenital deformation, that maybe it wasn't congenital after all, and only looked that way.  The worst case scenario for the surgery would be that in trying to remove the cataract it would fall behind my eye and that would be the reason for one or two more surgeries.  In best case scanario, they could remove the cataract easily, but the vision in that eye would not be improved anyway.

So with that bit of information, I decided to postpone the surgery for a few more years.  She filled out a DMV form for me and I hope to renew my driver's license next week.  Here's your "word of the day."  A pseudophakia is an eye in which the natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens (in other words, what happens when you have a cataract removed, though looking at the word it sounds like you have a fake fake!)

One question on the form was to indicate when DMV should test my vision again and she put down in 5 years (the maximum).  When she told me that, I could not believe my automatic response.  It just rolled off my tongue.  I said "That's good (chuckle). I could be dead in 5 years. I'm old, you know."  My mother had briefly taken possession of my body and I was speaking in her tongue!!!



MyEye.jpg (216380 bytes)

Why, Grandma...what big eyes you have!

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