Wayne Adult Community Center

Feature article from the February, 2005 Newsletter

You Need Not Dread Cataract Surgery

Have you ever heard of a surgeon who is so good at removing cataracts that he has people figuratively waiting in line for the operation? Who is so confident of his surgical skill that he even lets people watch the procedure? We have been to such a surgeon.

My sweetheart's eye doctor said: "Your cataracts are ripe and it is time to have them removed". So I drove her across the Passaic River, to a large white building with the sur­geon's name on it in huge letters. Inside, a large waiting room was packed with people. Luckily, we found two empty seats side-by-side.

Every once in a while, a patient would return to the waiting room, accompanied by a nurse. These were patients who had just undergone cataract removal. None showed any sign of distress, and one even smiled. The only bandage I saw was on the back of the hand, the injection site for the intravenous anesthesia. The nurse gave each patient a kit, described its contents, and explained how to use them.

Some of the patients put on dark glasses, but often they had taken the glasses of by the time they left with their escorts, which was usually about ten minutes later.

When my sweetheart left to be "prepped" for her operation, I wandered into a small viewing room to watch the surgeon work on others. Mounted on the wall were three pairs of TV screens, one for each of the three operating rooms. The top screen of each pair showed a wide-angle view of the room, and in each a patient could be seen covered with a white sheet and lying on an elevated platform. I would see later that the sheet had a hole over the eye to be operated on.

When the surgeon walked into an operating room, assistants quickly put a hooded cape over him and adjusted the face opening. He held out his arms, and gloves were slipped over his hands. The doctor then walked over to his microsurgery equipment, made some adjustments, and sat down.

As soon as he turned on the equipment and moved it over the patient's face, the lower TV screen showed the patient's eye, revealed by the hole in the sheet. The eyelids were clamped open, and the greatly magnified pupil of the eye filled half the TV screen.

I watched as the microsurgery tools penetrated the eye's lens capsule, broke up the clouded lens, and drew out the pieces. Then a flexible plastic lens was popped into the capsule and carefully centered. With that, the operation was over. It had taken only a few minutes.

I saw half a dozen operations. It became obvious that this surgeon was highly skilled.

When my sweetheart came back to the waiting room, she felt no pain. A week later, the vision in that eye tested at nearly 20/20. A month later, she could thread a needle without eyeglasses.

Conclusion: mass production has arrived for a difficult surgical procedure.

Submitted by member Henry Hartmann

Note added by your newsletter editor: Not everyone's visual acuity will be-come 20/20 after cataract surgery, because not everyone's visual acuity is limited by their eye's internal lens. The acuity will most likely return to -whatever it was before the cataract began to develop. Be assured, however, that if you have a competent surgeon, the post-removal acuity will certainly be far better than it was with the cataract in place.


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