Gainesville Eye Physicians Blog

Achieving a clearer view.

Cataract Surgery From the Patient's Perspective

by Stephanie 20 July 2013 06:45 AM
This blog post is an unedited account of a patient's cataract surgery experience:

"I Wish That I Had Not Waited So Long"

Dr. Marshall told me I was developing cataracts in both eyes during my annual appointment several years ago.  Dr. Marshall then told me that the cataracts had advanced to the point that the surgery would have to occur in the coming year during my appointment in October 2012.  I had by then noticed that the lighting in my home and office seemed to have dimmed and I was replacing bulbs with the strongest strength bulbs that the fixtures would safely burn.  I constantly thought the lenses in my glasses needed to be cleaned, I could no longer shoot my bow, I was running into the edges of tables, I was cutting my fingers in the kitchen, and I had suffered a series of falls.  The world in general was becoming a dim and narrow place with muted colors.  I had begun to have trouble driving at night by the end of February of this year so I knew that I simply had to find the time to have the surgical procedure.  I decided that Dr. Gregory Snodgrass was the surgeon that I wanted to operate on my eyes since Dr. Snodgrass is a surgeon with many years of experience with an excellent reputation and does a large number of these surgeries.  An added plus is that Dr. Snodgrass is a member of a practice that prides itself on individual patient attention.

I was fortunate enough to be scheduled for the April surgical schedule.  The pre-op preparation was simply incredible.  Two obviously well-trained and experienced med techs spent at least two hours independently measuring the specifications for my artificial lenses including talking with me together the better part of a half hour about the types of artificial lenses to assist me in making my choice of lens.  Your type of lens choice is pretty much a final choice.  I chose the type of lens that would give me crisp and sharp mid and far distance vision accepting the need for reading glasses since there would be a 20%-30% chance that I would need readers if I chose the multi-focal lens type.

The surgery itself is pretty much an anti-climax.  You are awake but medicated so that you are not in any way uncomfortable during the surgical procedures that I have an impression lasted only 15 or 20 minutes each.  Dr. Snodgrass works with an anesthetist (who insists that you call him Tim), who I think has ways to know if he needs to adjust your medication so that you remain comfortable.  The medication is administered through an IV placed on the top of the hand on the side of the eye that is being operated on that day.  A topical anesthetic is administered to the top of the hand before the IV is placed.  I was aware enough during the surgeries to realize that Dr. Snodgrass himself prepped my eyes for surgery.  The staff in the surgical suite even knew from the pre-op interview that I needed to have my left shoulder supported because an injury to the shoulder back when I was in high school makes it difficult for me to lie on my back.  I was home reading the newspaper by 9:30 a.m. and went to work the next day after both surgeries.  The time between the first and second surgery was the only difficult time in the whole process. You have one eye with crisp, sharp, bright and colorful 20/20 vision, you are wearing your old glasses with a lens trying to correct the vision in the other eye, and you find that you can hardly wait for the day of the second surgery.

As with any medical procedure, I was informed that there is a small risk of a bad result that becomes much lower if you use your three antibiotic and anti-inflammation prescription eye drops four times a day for a month and wear the special sunglasses that Dr. Snodgrass provides when out in direct sunlight for several weeks.  I was informed that the eye drops do have a brief stinging sensation with some patients and I was one of them but the sensation lasts just a moment.  The eye drops simply have to be used as prescribed.

It is hard to describe the joy that I felt when I walked out of my home the morning after the second surgery and saw the world again as it really is.  A real payoff came several mornings later when the weather had cleared and I went outside before daylight to pick up the newspaper.  I had forgotten that you can see craters on the face of the moon.

I regret that I waited so long to have Dr. Snodgrass fix my eyes and I am most grateful to Dr. Snodgrass and his staff for giving me my vision back.  There is no way that I can recover two years of gradually dimming and stumbling time in my life but you can avoid a similar loss if advised that you need a lens replaced.  Do not wait like I did.  Please contact Dr. Snodgrass' staff if you have any hesitation about the process or the surgery itself and the staff will put you in touch with me.  I will be happy to discuss the process with you.        

Phil D.







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