The Cataract Diaries

by Veronica

My husband had surgery yesterday for a very quick and sudden onset cataract in his left eye. Has what others told us to expect happened or has it all been unique to him?

Cataracts are cloudy patches on the lens of your eye and cause blurred vision. They are very common and usually age related.The lens is a transparent curve that sits just behind your pupil. It lets light to get to the back of your eye. As we age, cataracts develop in the lens, stopping light from reaching the back of the eye. When the cataracts become worse they affect vision. Most people with cataracts will need surgery to remove and replace the lens.

I have decided that maybe to help others who have cataracts or are caring for someone with cataracts to do a mini cataract diary of this first few days.

I hope this helps someone. Somewhere.

I am going to add to this as time goes by.

This is a diary of people who are going through this NOW.

It is not an in depth medical description as I don' have that knowledge. It is a recovery description.

The eyes are the windows to the soul we are told

My grandson
My grandson
Veronica's photo

Symptoms for you to watch for

Cataracts develop over many years and are unnoticeable to start with. They often develop in both eyes, although each eye may be affected differently.

Vision becomes blurred or cloudy or  there may be small spots or blurry patches

  • Cataracts may also affect your sight in the following ways:
  • difficulty with dim or bright lights and glare
  • colours may not be as sharp
  • double vision
  • spectacles  become less effective

 

 

 

cataract picture
cataract picture
Owned by Wikipedia

Cataract Diaries

Nov 2013

My husband had his routine visit to the optician. She told him he just had the very start of a cataract but there was no worry;  he didn't have to come back yet as it was so slight and may not even develop at all.

Nov 2014

My husband came downstairs and said,

"I think I need new glasses ; these aren't working properly ."

" Great stuff, that's good.  Hopefully your eye is aging again and you're getting less short sighted and more long sighted. "

The cataract development didn't enter into our thinking.

We were in the kitchen.There was a noise at the front door. The post. There was a letter from the optician. It was time for my husband's eye check! I am a great believer in things happening for a purpose.  I do believe that God doesn't intervene in our lives or stop bad things happening but gives us gentle nudges occasionally to sort out our lives if we want to. Because of this belief of mine, I felt a bit uneasy and didn't delay: I went and phoned for an appointment for my husband instantly.

The result of the visit was that the cataract had come down very very suddenly and the optician  wasn't referring him to the Eye Hospital but to a private clinic where he would be seen immediately. Despite being seen at the start of December it was still 4 weeks before the operation.

 

 

 

 

look after your eye sight
look after your eye sight
glasses direct..co.uk

What people told us

We have a large circle of acquaintances and also people at church we speak to. Even the night before the operation, people at church were telling us " it's marvellous ! " " you can see immediately " It's amazing" " It doesn't need painkillers . "

I believed them.

 

 

What the clinic told us afterwards

No, your eye is full of anaesthetic so you won't be able to see immediately. You 'll have an opaque eye patch on so you won't see yet. It can be two or three days before your eye adapts and you can see out of it.

Yes you may need painkillers afterwards, the normal ones that you take.

The first 26 hours

A very close friend got up at dawn and came out to get us to the clinic for before 8 am. It was a 40 minute drive. You find out who your real friends are at such times as these.

We arrived at 7 50 and were given cups of tea.

9.00am       My husband was taken to the ward.

10 10 am    I was taken in to sit with him after he had come out. He was given tea and I made him eat the biscuits to get a sugar rush as he was anxious that he couldn't see just like people had been telling him would.

The delightful and wonderful nursing staff gave us a mountain of medication, even sterile gauzes and lots of instructions. They are so re-assuring.

10 35      We got a taxi cab home.

My husband still couldn't see but given the guidance above from the medics that was to be expected.

The day wore on.

My husband can't put his eye glasses on to help his other non cataract eye. The eye patch prevents him wearing them. This means he can't see from either eye.

  • He has to take 4 tablets over 48 hours to reduce the blood pressure behind the eye. These also have a diuretic affect so we have to keep his fluids up with lots of drinks, which I am making for him .
  • He has an eye shield which he had to wear for the first 24 hours and at night for at least a week.
  • He must not get any water in his eye

13th Jan 2016

From this morning he has to have eye drops upto 6 times a day.

He has had a bath this morning and not his usual shower. He can't get water in his eye so a bath is safer. I helped him into the bath so he didn't slip and bang his head as he can't see.

Last night about 1 am he needed painkillers, once the anaesthetic wore off and his eye lid was stuck together with like a sticky glue substance.

This morning, we bathed the eye and he can open it .

 

Most importantly, 24 hours later he still can't see. Maybe it is individual or maybe people who say they could see immediately meant within a couple of days by " immediately" .

He certainly can't see out of it 24 hours after the operation although the eye bath means he can open the eye this morning.

 

 

 

HINTS

  • Don't expect to see immediately
  • Keep everywhere disinfected to avoid infection
  • Keep the hands clean, disinfected with hand sanitising gel in case you touch your eyes
  • Keep a chart of medication. The timings to have various drops are quite specific. I am ticking off each medication against a time on the chart
  • Wear button up shirts and cardigans so you don't pull anything over your head.
  • Be patient . It's distressing.

24 hours after the operation

We have put some music on and are listening calmly as I type. Last night was difficult as he woke several times. I have made sure he has had a good breakfast and lots of drinks because of the Diamox.

He hasn't had need of painkillers yet though, just the ones at 1am.

24 hours and he can't see yet.

My lovely man ( men )  :)
My lovely man ( men ) :)
veronica's photo

28 hours after the operation

MY husband has just told me that he can see his hand with the operated eye.

Good news. We are making slow progress.

32 hours after the operation

At least this hasn't affected his appetite. He has tucked away roast pork, cabbage, carrots and broccoli and boiled potatoes.

He has put his eye drops in and this evening helped me to clear some dishes after dinner. I haven't kept asking him if he can see. I feel this will get irritating if I do.  It must be an improvement if he offered some help!

As he felt he could see a little 4 hours ago, I don't want to keep asking as if I expect an improvement by the minute.

48 hours

My husband can see out of the eye and has made some cups of tea. I still helped him into the bath in case he slipped. But he now is wearing clothes that he can pull over his head instead of button -up shirts and cardigans.

The end is in sight ...before we start all over again in 6 weeks with the other eye.

5 days

5 days later

My husband is doing jobs round the kitchen, putting out the rubbish bins and making cups of tea.

He is still having baths rather than showers and is still having the eye patch at night in case he rubs his eye in his sleep. He needs his eye drops for another 3 weeks to prevent infection. He no longer needs button through clothes so he can wear clothes that pull over his head like T shirts and jumpers.

I can't believe it is only 5 days since he had it done. His second eye will be done in a few weeks.

 

I hope this helps someone who is about to have this operation. It is worth having done.

10 days

My husband is reading a story to our grandson tonight. He hasn't been able to lift him as he can't lift a two stone weight yet.

But tonight he has lifted him up and is reading bedtime stories to him.

Lovely.

Updated: 01/22/2016, Veronica
 
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Veronica on 04/22/2016

Sandy's account has similarities and differences to my husband's and I think both are worth reading if you are going to be a carer or a patient. Well done Sandy.

sandyspider on 04/22/2016

Thank you. It is good to read it from the carer's perspective.

Veronica on 04/22/2016

Community; I have now read Sandy's account on hubpages above. Fascinating stuff.

I think we have both illustrated that Cataract Surgery is not as straightforward as we are lead to believe.

sandyspider on 04/21/2016

I did write about it on HubPages under SandyMertens called "My Cataract Surgery and Recovery Experience". I also broke it down in a diary type experience. I was slow at healing and was on Prednisone for months, the drops and pills. Then I had what is called after cataracts.

Veronica on 04/21/2016

Sandy that's great . How are you doing with it ? And how does your experience compare to his ? it would be interesting to see if there is any comparison.

sandyspider on 04/21/2016

Good reading what your husband has gone with with cataracts and the surgery. I have been through this myself.

Veronica on 04/07/2016

Post cataract check up

My husband had his post cataract check this week. His eye sight is much better but he will need glasses for reading and close work.

Ty for all the support . It's been a difficult few weeks but well worth it to improve his quality of life.

Veronica on 03/09/2016

After 22 hours, my husband opened his eye and had sight. WEe are repeating all the above procedures but It looks like it is all successful.

TY for all your word ad messages of support.

Veronica on 03/08/2016

What a difference an eye makes!

We have just returned from the hospital after the second cataract operation. Because my husband has one excellent eye at the moment he can see well enough to play cards with our oldest son. I gave my husband a hot cross bun for a sugar boost after the operation and also a cup of tea.

He is not as stressed because he can see. The difference between this and two months ago is astonishing.

Thanks to all for your kind comments and support.

Veronica on 02/09/2016

It will be fine if the second cataract is successful.


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