What does it feel like to see clearly with both eyes? Is it worth it?
July 23, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

25 years later, what can I do with my once cataract plagued eye?

I was born with a cataract in my left eye. My lens was removed at 3 months and wore a patch over my right eye, as an exercise to put my left eye to work, for a few years until my parents couldn't take it anymore. Fast forward +20 years. I only see blurry color in my left eye with help from my right. If anything were to happen to my right I'd be legally blind.

So my questions : (Yes, yes YANMED)
- What are my options? Is there anything in modern technology of today that I can do to salvage my left eye to be able to see?
- Is there any point to really get it "fixed"? (Other than the fact that I am SUPER paranoid of something awful happening to my right eye, leaving me blind) Tell me your stories of living the cyclops way.
- I've never been able to see out of my left eye.. how does it feel?

Also just FYI - I have astigmatism in my right eye. Only recently have I started to wear a contact lens in it (yay! so cheap to have to wear only one lens! :P ) My Metafilter question really arose after I started wearing this lens and could finally see all around rather than seeing only through glasses. So I'm wondering what all I'm missing! Also .. I keep running into people more lately and seems my left eye is becoming weaker.

Thank you!
posted by xicana63 to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
 
What are my options? Is there anything in modern technology of today that I can do to salvage my left eye to be able to see?

Maybe? You'll have to talk to an opthamologist. There's really not enough information here for us to know, I think.

Is there any point to really get it "fixed"? (Other than the fact that I am SUPER paranoid of something awful happening to my right eye, leaving me blind) Tell me your stories of living the cyclops way.

A few months after my mom had eye surgery in her 50's, she and I went to the orchestra together. Afterwards she said "It was so neat to be able to see the musicians." I said, "What?" She said, "I could never see the musicians before." I had no idea! It had definitely changed her experience of the world.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 9:49 AM on July 23, 2012


You might be able to get a lens implant. An ophthalmologist would definitely be the person to know and I don't think it would be too difficult to just set up a consultation and ask about your options. It will be a lot easier to weigh up the benefits when you know what's possible, how difficult or successful it is likely to be, and how much it would cost.
posted by shelleycat at 10:16 AM on July 23, 2012


I was also born 20+ years ago with a cataract obscuring my left lens, which was removed at 2 months of age (by a Dr. del Monte, should the coincidences between us extend). But then when I was seven I had an intra-ocular lens (IOL) implanted after years of intermittent patching/hard contacts -- we'd hated it too -- and now I see at about 20/200 out of my left eye. Since my right eye is quite nearsighted, my IOL was deliberately calibrated for distance vision so I'd have one of each. At one point about ten years after the implantation, the lens detached and I was back to blurs of color indicating motion, but it was safely reattached (for now?).

- Because of that "for now?" I've been keeping an eye (har) on newfangled technological solutions. Thus far I haven't found anything I'm a candidate for. You may be a candidate for an IOL like I currently have, though, or various permutations of it -- even an optometrist should be able to give you an idea on that front, though obviously you'll ultimately want the surgeon's opinion. I gather they now even have IOLs that your eye muscles, assuming you have such things, control and so they have adjustable focus points. That would be pretty amazing, in my opinion.

- Yes. The difference between my vision sans-IOL and my current semi-binocular state is the difference between comfortably navigating the world with minor left-side clumsiness and falling off level ground. No doubt you're better at the cyclops thing than I ever became but still. Right now I see a bit better out of my left eye "naturally" than I do from my right eye without glasses. It's way nicer this way. I remain very protective of my right eye but I know I could get around with just the left (though probably not read comfortably, which would be sad).

- Parallax works! And, with very different levels of vision like I have, I have limited "x-ray" vision -- I see through my nose, or any other object in front of my strong eye but not the other. You can catch stuff way better, and predict where objects you throw will land. You can kind of triangulate how far things are from you. You can keep track of (big) stuff out to your side/back without looking away from your work. When you start to fall, you can see what you're grabbing for AND keep track of things to avoid landing on. Heights aren't so terrifyingly unknowable. If the sun's on your "good" side, you can close that eye and still be okay to walk. You can check behind you on your bike before making a left turn. On man. Is this the kind of stuff you want? I could go on for a long time.

- Maybe your left eye is becoming weaker, maybe your brain is deciding it's not contributing enough to successfully mesh with your improved right-side vision, maybe a slight prescription for that eye would help you (mine is -2.5 on top of the IOL, which to be fair was prescribed when I was a little kid). Again, great question for an in-person eye exam.

Feel free to MeMail if you (read: OP or anyone with related questions) want to talk.
posted by teremala at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was born with a cataract in my right eye that was removed when I was two, forty some years ago. 

You should see an ophthalmologist to find out what can be done to improve your vision - nothing can be done to improve mine, because I had other problems too and my eye is too compromised now. 

Here's an interesting post about binocular vision from not too long ago...
posted by mgrrl at 11:49 AM on July 23, 2012


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