Testing the Bionic Eyeball

I’ve been wearing contact lenses for many years. Whereas I dislike wearing glasses, I love contact lenses which seem to be very comfortable for me and give a better all round result. One slight drawback with contact lens distance correction is that age eventually make one need help with reading as well. Reading glasses over the top of the contacts is one perfectly reasonable solution but, for a couple of years, I got decent results using technology advances and wearing bifocal contact lenses. These I found to be fine when the difference between my reading and distant prescriptions was moderate. However, with increasing age comes an increase in the prescription difference and I found the clarity of my distance vision to be a little compromised – somewhat less than crystal clear. Given my love of nature, I really wanted as much clarity as I could get and reverted to simple distance lenses with reading glasses over the top as required. Better. The compromise in distance clarity was one of the main reasons that I rejected the idea of a multi-focal lens implant.

So, here I was, on the Friday morning following my surgery, with my new cataract-free bionic right eyeball equipped with a toric lens implant. The design objective of this lens is to get my right eye prescription “as close to zero as possible” and correct my slight astigmatism. We’ll know how close the medical gurus got to that in a few weeks time. Now, however, it was time for the great unveiling – I could remove my Long John Silver eye patch. Ah, the other thing I had to do was to open my eyelid which was closed under said eye patch. It was a little gummy round the lashes but a swift rinse fixed that. Eureka, I could see! Not only that but I could see clearly across the street and down the garden into the trees. Well, I could that with my new bionic right eye – my old natural left was still short sighted, of course, but I had no veil across my vision, though I could tell my left eye was out of focus.

So, one short distance eye and one long distance eye. I have a cousin who has had both eyes freed of cataracts and she has chosen deliberately precisely this fsormat. In fact, it was something suggested by Mr. Optician using contact lenses a few years ago but I never tried it. Now I was trying it. Turn on the computer – marvelous, I can read the screen with my left eye and see across the street with my right eye. In fact, reading the screen with just my left eye is pretty much what I’ve had to do for the last two years anyway since the right eye was veiled by a cataract. So, life’s not really any different with close work. Since I’m left eye dominant, the distance vision in my right eye doesn’t really encroach. When it comes to distance vision, my left eye being out of focus does encroach but it isn’t bad. Hey, this could catch on.

As advised, I spent Friday taking it easy and getting used to administering two eye drops four times a day. One is an anti-inflammatory, the other an antibiotic to guard against infection. Since it’s pollen season and the irritating (read ugly conifer) tree in our front garden is coating the world in yellow dust, I stayed indoors on Saturday as well. On Sunday, though, Carol wanted to go and count orchids at our local Sandhouse Lane Nature Reserve so I decided to go along to give my new vision a test drive on dragonflies.

J01_2713 Azure DamselflyFor the first time in weeks, I put in my old left contact lens. So this is what vision used to be like. It’s amazing how quickly one forgets. My left eye was now in focus at distance too and, with the now clear right eye, the world looked great. Assessing distance from the kerb whilst driving was certainly much better. Not being a sunny day, Odo activity was a little subdued but as soon as we walked in to the reserve I began spotting Azure Damselflies (Coenagrion puella) on leaves in the bushes. Seeing them stationary has been a bit of a challenge, of late. Best of all, when I disturbed them and they started flying, I could track them instead of losing them in the bushes. Great!

IMG_9465 White-legged DamMy new eyeball found me a new species for this year, too. Sandhouse Lane is graced with a colony of White-legged Damselflies and I spotted about six, all of which were females, I believe. I think it’s common for the first emergence flush to be a batch of females in several species of Odo but don’t quote me. We moved on and I kept revelling in my ability to see small critters better than I could remember. We even found a new species to me for this location in the shape of three Red-eyed Damselflies, again all female, though they didn’t seem particularly cooperative vis-a-vis photography. No dragonflies, though, just damsels.

_MG_0383Meanwhile Carol was wandering around muttering, “125, 126, …” as she counted the population of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) in Sandhouse Lane. Final count reached about 175 and she found this one particularly nice example that was advanced enough to be photogenic. Supposedly, last year there were 750 so we may have a way to go yet. We may need help counting, too. 🙂

Next Thursday I get my post-operative check up with Miss Consultant when we should find out what she thinks. Until then, however, and on first impressions, I’m very happy.

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