Sunday, May 06, 2012

Color Perceptions & Cataracts

lens with cataract sees this ^                           artificial lens sees this ^

fast growing kind
went from vision corrected to 20/20 three years ago
to 20/25 two years ago
and last year
to 20/35 in one eye
20/40 in the other eye

a month ago rated 3+
on a scale of 1 to 4
4 is legally blind

growing over the lenses
darkening, blurring and yellowing vision
brain adjusting as the cataracts progress
until one night
can't see well enough to drive safely
until one day
everything in the grocery store is a blur
indistinguishable blobs on the shelves
until one day
big struggle to thread a needle
even when aided by a lit magnifier

surgery different now
not like when Mom had it done
no pain
like in a dream
watching the procedure
from another space-time
a little cut
insert miniature jack hammer
break up the lens
insert miniature vacuum cleaner
remove pieces of lens
flush, flush
insert miniature polishing tool
whir, whir
polish the lens sack
flush, flush
insert artificial lens
spring opens lens
tape cup over eye
all done
go home
eye drops, eye drops, eye drops
four weeks of eye drops
then, finally
20/20 is restored

lens with cataract sees this ^                           artificial lens sees this ^

OK, you got it. I had cataract surgery four days ago in my left eye. My right eye will be done on May 16th. In the interim, it's the most fascinating thing to close one eye and then the other, alternating between cataract altered vision and "normal" vision. It's totally fascinating to compare color perceptions.

lens with cataract sees this ^                           artificial lens sees this ^

To show the difference, I worked this fountain picture in Photoshop.

One amazing thing about cataracts is that they make any bright light against a dark background have a rainbow halo.  A month ago, I came home totally in awe of the full moon, which was very yellow and had a distinct and bright rainbow halo. I told my husband to go look at the beautiful moon. He came back in and didn't say much. "Did you see that amazing halo?" I asked. He replied, "What halo?" I described it. "I didn't see a halo," he said. "Go look again," I urged. He did, but still didn't see a halo. We both went out and looked, both describing what we saw. Must have been something like the pictures below.

moon as I saw it ^                           moon as Robert saw it ^

Last night there was a full moon again. So, of course, I did the one eye, then the other eye thing on it, making it very clear that everything is in the eye of the beholder. I'm grateful for the chance to have seen a halo surrounding the full moon one last time. And I'm mighty grateful to modern medicine, which by the end of the month will have restored brightness, sharpness and saturated color to both of my eyes!


  1. I'm so glad for you. My MIL spoke of just this when she recently had eye surgery.

    Thanks for the reminder of yet another thing to be grateful for.
    xx, Carol

  2. I found the same thing with my recent surgery. I have been wearing a red sweater that I thought was an orange red, spent hours looking for my red top before realising that the blue red one handing in the wardrobe was the same.....I have been wearing orange red lipstick with the blue red top for months....must have looked strange.

    I love the new ability to see colour. However I am glad I was asleep for the procedure would not have liked that hammering and vacuuming however miniature.

  3. You always seem to find something wonderous no matter what the occurrence. Good for you. Happy everything went well with the first surgery, and know it will be well with you after the second. Happy Beading Robin.

  4. Gah... my worst fear is losing my eyesight... it must have been so frightening to realize how bad this was and how quickly it progressed. Hurray for modern medicine! So glad eye number one turned out well... fingers crossed for eye number two!

  5. Robin dear, I cannot believe that you wrote that entire (upcoming!) bead book while this diminishing eyesight was happening full tilt....ARE YOU WONDER WOMAN OR WHAT?!?!?!? This was fascinating to view your comparison between *seeing*...thanks for spelling it out like this...and like Carol said, a reminder of something to be grateful for.

    Still, I sort of yearn to see the moon like THAT ;>]]

    Very, very pleased to know the surgery went so well!
    All my best to you!!

  6. Apparently the moon was at its closest to earth this year making it appear 14% bigger than normal. They called it a super moon. Glad the last halo you saw was a super halo :-) I am also glad that the first op went well and that you are sounding much more optomistic about it now.

  7. I'm so glad things went well for you! One down, one to go. :-)

  8. I'm so glad your vision is being restored -- SO grateful that there is an easy and painless fix. xo Susan

  9. Glad to hear that your operation went well and hopefully you will soon back to normal vision.

    Having a lazy eye all my life, I would find it strange to see normally I suspect as I use my dodgy eye when I am drawing or painting as I can see tones much easier that way. Because I have a lazy eye, a moon always has a halo as do all other lights at night. Even glasses can't eliminate that effect

  10. So so very glad that your vision is being restored!! the miracles of modern medicine are amazing!! Stay well take care of your self and dream of threading needles with tremendous ease!! <3

  11. Hello Robin. So glad you have had your vision restored,by now in both eyes. I read your comment on my blog and felt really encouraged. I must get back to writing. I hope we have an opportunity to chat sometime. I really so love your work.

  12. Absolutely fascinating to compare the two! Though as interesting as it is, I'm glad you're fixing it!

  13. I've been catching up on your vision, and hope you are continuing to heal. I really love the beaded tribute. I have a condition called uveitis, and I know a little bit about being an artist and struggling to see. Thankfully it's in remission. It is so generous that you share all that you do. ♥ Beth

  14. People can use lens in cataract to see things properly but there are different types of lens available and those work differently.

    eye diseases and conditions

  15. Thanks for the before/after images. I had a cataract removed from my right eye ~24 hours ago, and this site provides the clearest example I have found to explain the differences I'm seeing between my left and right eyes. I'm now looking forward to getting the left eye done in 3 weeks.


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