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Overcoming My Fear About Cataract Surgery

By | Fact Checked |

Overcoming My Fear About Cataract Surgery

Cataracts is an age-related condition that progresses slowly over a period of time, lasting months or even years. Cataracts cloud the lens inside your eye so you can’t see clearly. Cataract surgery entails removing the cloudy lens (or lenses) and replacing it/ them with a clear lens (or lenses) that improves your vision.

I had regular check-ups with my optometrist that kept me informed about my condition. It worsened over time and at my last visit I was told it was time for me to consider the surgery because my cataracts have significantly affected my distance vision. Although I had symptoms – seeing muted colors, difficulty with night driving and trouble reading sub-titles, I was prepared to live with them because the thought of eye surgery scared me. However, when he said that I may not be able to drive if I didn’t have the surgery, I knew it was time to reconsider. I felt it was important to weigh the potential benefits of improved vision against any fears or concerns about the procedure. He referred me to a specialized eye care clinic. 

Read more about Menopause and Eye Health

When I told my family and friends about the surgery, most said it was a relatively simple and effective procedure. Their words did not reassure me. I felt anxious, worried and afraid. I decided to take charge and conquer my fear. I started by scheduling a consultation at the eye clinic where I went through a battery of tests to assess my condition and then met with a consultant who explained the surgical options available, addressed my questions and concerns, and provided support throughout the decision-making process. She provided detailed information about what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

I researched the literature and checked out the credentials and experience of the surgeon I was referred to and one other surgeon recommended by a friend. When I met with the surgeon at the clinic, I learned he had done over 20,000 procedures which showed me he had a lot of experience. This was reassuring. He explained the procedure, was patient in answering my questions and suggested the appropriate lens for my condition. I also sought feedback from someone who had undergone surgery with the same surgeon and heard positive experiences about both the surgical process and recovery.

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This lengthy pre-surgery process helped to reassure me about the procedure and surgeon I chose. By empowering myself with information, and taking control of the decision-making process, I managed my anxiety and faced my fears. It allowed me to make an informed choice based on facts and personal experiences rather than hearsay. And the end result improved the quality of my life tremendously.

I had cataract surgery on both eyes, one month apart. The procedure began with the nurse putting drops into my eye that froze it in about 30 minutes. He put a needle into a vein on my right hand for the mild intravenous sedative the anesthesiologist would administer when I was lying on the operating table. He put an X above my right eye so the surgeon would know which eye to operate on. After 30 minutes, the nurse took me into the operating room. I lay down on the table and they strapped my head down with tape so I wouldn’t move. The anesthesiologist connected the mild sedative that relaxed me. When the surgeon began the procedure, I saw flashes of light as he was working. There was no pain. The surgical process took about 15 minutes and I was awake the entire time. After it was over, the nurse helped me into a wheel chair and wheeled me out of the operating room to wait for the surgeon to check me one last time to make sure the lens was properly inserted. He examined my eye and said everything was ok.

I followed the post-surgery instructions and did exactly what I was told to do, paying attention to every detail. It took my left eye a little longer to become focused than my right eye and I was worried at first. I was told that my dominant right eye heals faster than my non-dominant left eye and I needed to have patience for the process. They were right! Within a month, I had crystal clear clarity in both eyes.

I now tell everyone I have two bionic eyes. I’m experiencing significant improvements in my vision and quality of life. The world has become a brighter place. It's summer now and I’m enjoying the bright colors of the flowers, trees and flowering bushes as I take my morning walks. I can read subtitles on my television and signs faraway.

The only negative aspect is that now I can see specs of dirt around my house. I’m very neat and I find myself cleaning spots on my kitchen cabinets, floors, walls and bathroom that I didn’t see before. I joke with my children and tell them I see spots of dirt in their homes too. They invite me to come to their homes to clean them (LOL).

My experience highlights the importance of being proactive in healthcare decisions by taking time to gather information and seeking out trusted professionals with whom I feel comfortable. By doing so, I was able to conquer my fears and make a decision that felt right for me. This journey not only improved my vision but it also strengthened my confidence in navigating future medical decisions.

Guest Post by Myra Giberovitch

Lisa is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) who focuses on helping women find relief in perimenopause and menopause. Lisa has more than eight years of experience in the health and wellness space. She is also in perimenopause and experiences the occasional hot flashes, some anxiety, and irregular cycles. She is passionate about listening to her body, eating as much of a whole-food diet as possible, and exercising for strength and longevity.