Saturday, May 15, 2010

I too now have a silicone implant -- in fact two!

No! Not there, silly! . Recently I went through what is known as phacoemulsification surgery in both eyes. It's an impressive combination of micro surgery and physics. Under a microscope (with the patient under local anaesthesia) the surgeon makes a 2.5 mm incision in the cornea, through which he pushes in an ultrasound probe that, through a small cut in the lens, dissolves the cataractous inside of the lens and sucks it out (or aspirated as it is called), leaving the outer capsule intact. A foldable silicone lens is then inserted inside the capsule and allowed to open out, thus replacing the original lens with an new intra ocular one of suitable focal length. The new lens is usually chosen so that the patient has almost perfect distant vision, and is given glasses only for reading.

The surgery takes about ten minutes, (while the surgeon chats with you) though the preparation for the surgery takes another fifteen minutes or so. By far the most painful part of the proceedings is the injection of the local anaesthetic which mercifully acts instantly and shuts down the eyelid and also all feeling in that eye. One sees some bright lights and rather unnervingly the shadow of the triangular shaped scalpel that is inserted into the eye to make the initial incision. Bandages are removed the next morning, after which vision is normal though full recovery takes about two weeks.

The sudden perfect clarity of vision is uncanny. For me, who's been wearing glasses since high school, to be able to see every mark on a wall, every leaf in a distant tree, every blemish in the skin of a person sitting opposite can be quite unnerving and I still keep touching my face to feel my non existent spectacles. First thing in the morning, you no longer begin by groping for your glasses before getting out of bed. Everything is crystal clear -- in fact too clear -- the instant you open your eyes. The only problem is reading...since the new lens has a fixed focal length and cannot adjust, no amount of squinting helps you to read -- you have to use glasses for this.

It's possible now to get these intra ocular lenses which have the ability to change their focus, just as the lens you are born with. But they don't work quite as well, and most ophthalmologists advise against them. I suspect though, in a few years time, they will become the standard and it will be like having a zoom lens in the eye :-)

So do I now have a bionic eye?

Tailpiece: I hope this also explains my slightly longish absence from my blog.


AmOK said...

We always knew you were far-sighted, OLO. Now the mind's penetrating eye and the corneal eye are synchronized. Awesome! This explains, as you said, your low blogging levels.

Through a back-of-the-envelope calculation of your age, is it not a bit early for getting your tyres changed? Of course it depends on the progress of the brunensis.

sunder and sonati said...

Now we need a new profile picture, sans specs

sunder and sonati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anant said...

OLO...such a relief to have you back. I was having withdrawal symptoms and need my weekly or monthly dose of vitriol. Hope that you have not gone soft with the bionic eye...Yhs

Rahul Basu said...

Anant: I am not quite sure what you mean. I went through the last more than half a dozen or so posts and perhaps it's my new bionic eye, but I failed to detect any vitriol. Are we are looking at different blogs?

Sunder and Sonati: No, I will eventually need glasses for middle vision (say computer screens) and reading so might as well have progressives that I have had all these years though now with almost zero power for distance and mainly for reading and computing. Otherwise, as one guy pointed out to me, it will be like those doctors in old Hindi movies - they would come out of the operation theatre or the patients room, gravely remove their glasses and then declare that the patient has copped it. Why this news could not be imparted avec glasses was never clear. I would have to do the same, though not just for declaring people's demise :-)

AmOK said...

A slight hint of vitriol in your last comment, OLO.

Perhaps some others (YHS folk) also need new silicones?

Anant said...

Exactly...the last half a dozen or so posts sans vitriol are what lead me to believe that maybe you were headed in the soft not disappoint your humble readership OLO...Yhs

vbalki said...

Incredible technological advance---compare it to what people went through for cataract removal in the not-so-old days. Glad to hear you have 20/20 vision without glasses. The only drawback I can think of is the glare from the florid red-and-black political posters!