Cataract surgery offers varied look at the world

Decisions, decisions.

What eye should I use? How best to see?

I’m halfway home, folks, to seeing again. A cataract was sucked out of my right eye on May 7 and I’m actually looking forward to the same on my left eye at the end of the month. In the meantime, it’s more than a tad distracting trying to figure out which eye to use.

This particular problem likely causes others discomfort as well, so many of you know how disconcerting it can be. I’m just glad I’m not often standing in a room of strangers all thinking I’m winking at them.

Across the room? Left eye. Driving the car? Definitely left eye. Reading the paper. Right eye for sure.

It couldn’t have been a week before Dr. Fox – a Fox at Wolfe clinic – before Dr. Fox started surgery talk that someone said someone she knew had cataract surgery and had the eye fixed for distant vision but then couldn’t see up close without her glasses.

When Dr. Fox said he’d have my distance vision fixed up, I was torn. It’s nice to be able to actually read street signs far enough away to make any needed turns, but it’s oh-so-much better being able to read without my trifolcals. Really, reading with trifocal glasses puts a real crick in my neck.

Whenever we’d go on trips, Walt would drive and I would read. No sense wasting all that down time looking at countryside I’d seen before, but as my eyes got older, they stopped working as well. I soon found myself unable to read in the car without my glasses and unable to read with my glasses because every time the car shimmied or bounced, my head did the same and the trifocals slid out of place. I felt like a blind bobblehead.

“Oh, no,” I wailed quickly. “I want to be able to see up close.”

OK, he said, he could do that.

And I’m happy to say he did. An eye test last week showed my closeup vision as 20/20. I have no idea what the 20s mean other than I can see. It couldn’t get any better if it had been in a box tied up with a big red bow. And red isn’t even my favorite color.

But until my eyes get evened out, I have the ability to go long or run short, and it very much depends on what I’m doing which eye I use. But the best place to play that game is in my bathroom. Looking at the floor in my bathroom.

If I look with my right eye, things are blurry and I see horses and dogs and women in long dresses lying against a tree. Then I look with my left eye and see only flooring that looks like stone.

Still, if I allow my left eye to wander, it too will run into wrinkled hands or the bushy tail of oh, for heaven sake a fox. Well, that’s almost spooky.

Just look at the bright light.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at