Tuesday, September 22, 2020


It was not a pleasant experience but not entirely unpleasant. Blessed NHS sent angelic drivers to pick me up and bring me back home. The wait at the hospital was long but quiet and punctuated by the insertion of many varieties of eyedrops. The op itself was surrealism, sci-fi and existentialism. Only the left eye was anaesthesised, I was fully conscious, lying down, head and face covered apart from small area left open for the surgical business. Various masked and gowned persons moving about, talking, presumably about what they were doing, and strange, melodic machine sounds. Instructions given to me were simple: look up, keep both eyes open, breathe. What I saw looking up was something like the view from a spaceship. Different kinds of lights, shapes like abstract skulls, crystalline cobwebs. I felt calm, detached. Also annoyed that it was taking so long. It seemed long but maybe it was only an hour or two. Then the surgeon said it's all done, everything went very well. In the waiting room, they gave me a cup of tea,biscuits and instructions to take home plus more eyedrops I must use for 2 weeks several times a day. An ambulance ride home and that's that.

The glint in my eye is not a glint: it's a reflection on the plastic shield taped over the de-cataracted eye which I must wear for a week every night when I sleeo but can take off in the daytime. As yet I have no idea what the world will look like through the doctored eye. We shall see. Goodnight for now.


Tom said...

When both eyes are done. the world will look clearer and focussed out to infinity.

Roderick Robinson said...

Both my eyes have been done. There was one point where the link directing the eyeball was briefly separated and the overhead light I was required to concentrate on floated and gently bounced out of the ambit of the world I had prescribed. It was as if the separation had occurred between my consciousness and my physical existence. Unique!

Throughout, a nurse held my hand. I forget the reason but it sounded practical. The effect was however wonderful, a conviction that humanity had its roots in this operating theatre and was subsequently flourishing throughout the universe. An ultimate sense of reassurance.

I wrote a sonnet about the after-effects. The second verse:

The lens digests these spectral coloured bands,
It takes advantage of their separate states,
It meets the needs of newer light’s demands,
Responding to the changing brain’s dictates.

The surgeon promised to pass it on to the nursing team and that pleased me. You must paint something, taking advantage of colours re-encountered.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Tom, I remember your description of your cataract op. I think yours was done with laser? In my case not laser. There hasn't been any dramatic change since the op last week but that's probably because I didn't have much loss of vision before. The eye tests I had last year showed I definitely had cataracts and should have them removed in both eyes so I got a date eventually from the NHS for the left eye. Am waiting for some more revelatory change!

Robbie, I recognise the experience very well expressed in your sonnet. But alas nobody held my hand while a new lens was inserted in my left eye. As I said to Tom above, I haven't yet seen much change in my colour perception but it was pretty god before so maybe I have yet to see the effects. Have been painting since the op, and colourd are as bright as before!