What else could a new lens do?

After last week’s cataract surgery, my right eye with its new implant for reading is working better than I ever imagined! I’m spoiled, and I can’t wait to have my distance eye done next week.

I was thinking about what a lens implant could eventually do. I’ll bet that some of the things Steve Austin’s bionic eye could do in “The Six Million Dollar Man” are not only doable, but also cost a lot more than six million dollars. (Not to be confused with Ted DiBiase, who was only “The Million Dollar Man.)

Imagine a lens implant that could do things like…

  • Zoom in or out. How awesome to zoom in on a game from the cheap bleacher seats! Or zoom in on something too small to be seen by normal eyes.
  • Give you a heads up display. It could show the distance to an object, tell you how fast you were going, display the temperature of a liquid, or even just show you the time at will. You could have it display a text message, your heart rate, or close caption a movie or live performance. I suppose you could use it to navigate, too.
  • Allows you to save an image of what you are looking at, perhaps saving it to your phone. While your’e at it, you add something to your shopping list or shopping cart.
  • How about facial recognition? Just glance at someone, and you would see their name. Maybe you could identify a plant or weed in your yard. Or identify an exact color, so you could get that matching quart of paint to touch up the bedroom walls.
  • Adjust to bright sunlight or dimly lit rooms. Unless you like to look cool wearing sunglasses.

Science fiction or next year’s product announcement? The lines are blurred, aren’t they? But not my vision! My left eye implant will even correct astigmatism in that eye. For now that’s pretty exciting. I’m so thankful for the doctors and technology that make it all possible. But what if…

I am once again giving thanks for the gift of sight

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

Yesterday I had my first cataract surgery. I woke up this seeing clearly from my right eye with out glasses or contact lenses for the first morning in many, many years. I am again giving thanks for the gift of sight.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was ten years old. My observant fourth grade teacher Mrs. Dimico saw me squinting to read the chalkboard and tipped off my parents. They took me to Cleary Optical which I think was in the neighboring town of Prospect Park, PA to get me examined and fitted for glasses. The lenses were ground from glass fifty years ago and I remember having the choice of two frames: black or tortoise shell. I chose black. Two weeks later we went to pick them up and Dr. Cleary spent nearly thirty minutes making sure they fit me correctly, an agent of the gift of sight. At first I only wore them when I needed them. But as time went on and I got progressively more nearsighted, I pretty much wore them all the time.

When I graduated college and had my first job, I got my first pair of soft contact lenses. Forty years ago, you purchased a pair which would last about a year. Not only did they require daily cleaning, but also weekly disinfecting in a little cooker thing made for that purpose. I was really thankful for that gift of sight, because now I could see when I was out running! The doctor also told me that contact lenses would slow the progression of my nearsightedness.

Eventually, I began to have a little trouble focusing on reading material as well as distance. I’m thankful for Dr. King in St. Augustine, who turned me on to monovision contact lenses. My left eye was corrected for distance, my right for reading. Worked like a charm, plus I now opened up a new pair every month.

When Dr. King moved out of his office, I began going to a local eye doctor who took my vision insurance plan. I’m thankful for Dr. Nunez who suggested I try multifocal lenses. Each lens was made with alterating concentric circles for distance and close up correction. After I wore them for a few days, my brain figured out which to use, and both my eyes could see near and far.

I am also thankful to Dr. Nunez who quickly got me into a retina specialist when one day without warning, I noticed a little dark patch of vision in the corner of my right eye. I not only had a tear in my retina, but it had also separated. I thankful that Dr. Nunn was able to laser my retina back into place and preserved the sight in that eye. Why did it happen? He explained that when you are nearsighted, your eye isn’t spherical, but more football-shaped, lending itself to separation. A tear with no separation happened a few years later in my left eye, too, and I am thankful that Dr. Jaroudi was able to laser that in place, too. I am extremely grateful for the technology which restored and preserved my eyesight!

All that lasering accelerated the growth of cataracts in both of my eyes, so I am having both lenses replaced with implants. My right eye has been adjusted for reading and my left eye will be for distance. The whole procedure for replacing my lens yesterday took less than fifteen minutes. The longest part of the morning was putting lots of drops in my eyes. Plus I didn’t feel a thing. I’m very thankful for Dr. Myer’s training, skills and work on my eye.

I know how complex the eye and the sense of sight is. It’s a wonder of God’s creation, as are all the colors, contrasts and textures he created for us to see. Some days I take those things for granted. But not today. Today, I’m once again grateful for the gift of sight!