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It began with a trip to the range.  I was about to sight in a Savage rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, a new and carefully researched caliber for me.  I chose a neat Vortex scope.  I’m not one of those shooters thinking it necessary to buy a scope costing two-three times more than the rifle.  I just don’t need that, nor can I afford it.  I even found two boxes of ammunition with 140 grain bullets, and yes, the prices were outrageous, but I’d handload everything else I needed after I got the rifle on target—or so I thought.

I had everything just so: nicely arranged sandbags, target at 20 yards to put rounds on target at 100, and I settled in, only to find a smudge in the middle of the field of view.  Odd that.  A new scope and smudged?  Maybe I did it when leveling?  So I looked at both ends and lo and behold, no visible smudges.  What the…?  So I looked through the scope and there it was again!  Once more, no smudges on either end.

I got the spotting scope out—no point in using it at 20 yards—so I checked that and what the…?  There it was again!  A smudge right in the center of the visual field.  So I checked both ends…and I remembered my last visit to our eye doc in Texas.  Cataracts.  Nothing to worry about right then, but I’d need to get them removed some day.  That was four years ago.  I had no trouble with red dot or iron sights, but anything with magnification, and smudge city.

It was off to the local eye doc who confirmed the cataracts—both eyes—and a referral to the eye surgeon who agreed they were bad enough to remove.  I had no difficulty making that decision, not only because of shooting, but because I’d begun to get pretty significant haloing when driving at night.  It wasn’t quite to the point of being dangerous, but it wouldn’t be long, so on 01-26-22, I went under the knife—left eye.  I’ll be placing photos of the procedure—not mine—throughout the rest of the article.  They’re not for the squeamish.

Actually, Mrs. Manor had both lenses replaced about four years ago.  She’s seven years older than I am, so I suppose we’re in about the same boat.  We live much longer these days, so things that never cropped up for most of our ancestors are visited on us.  Thankfully, with modern medicine, even replacing lens in the eyes is a quick and simple outpatient procedure.

02-26-22: Our local outpatient surgical facility is a professional but relaxed place, reflecting the community it serves.  The staff were all masked, and the young lady who checked me in asked if I had a mask and suggested everyone had to wear them, but didn’t demand I wear one, nor did anyone else in the facility.  Everyone in the waiting room was unmasked too.  Apparently the mask Nazis in the local hospital, which is in a separate building, don’t get down to the surgical center much.  Most private physicians and dentists in the area long ago gave up Covid theater.  Living in a free state is good.

It was the usual prep: blood pressure, EKG, temperature, heart rate, IV—I’m an easy stick—and asking what my goal for pain was prior to leaving.  I explained I have a very high pain tolerance, so we agreed on 3-4, which for me would amount to less than no pain and perhaps 8-10 for most folks.  Then it was off to the OR, and out again within about 20 minutes.

It was interesting.  I mostly heard everything said at the time, though I have no recollection of it, only the certainty I heard it.  They used only mild—no gas—sedation.  I didn’t feel anything, certainly no pain, but could “see” movement, colors and shapes as my old, clouded lens was sucked out and the new lens installed.  When they said it was all done, I was instantly and completely awake and aware as they rolled me out. I dressed and was gone with no issues within about 10 minutes.  Time from check it to walk out: about an hour.

Mrs. Manor drove, of course.  We ran a few errands, I picked up a pair of cheap reading glasses and headed home where I removed the left lens from my glasses.  Reading glasses because my distance vision is now 20/20 but I’ll need reading glasses.  That I can do.

The paperwork they provided mentioned all manner of horrible possibilities, up to and including exploding eyeballs, climate change, nuclear war, etc., but at the very least, I expected substantial irritation, itching, redness and pain, even headaches.

There was none of that, other than a little mild irritation that was fixed with a single application of sterile eye drops.

By morning, my vision was nearly normal, I visited the surgeon who was happy, and I drove home with a stop for some baking ingredients on the way for Mrs. Manor.  There are indeed good things about our contemporary lives.  More when I have the right eye done in a month.

03-23-22:  Surgery on the right eye went as quickly and smoothly as the left.  This time the nurses didn’t bother to question me about pain issues, and again, I didn’t need to wear a mask.

When I got home, I had a three-hour nap.  That’s unusual, but I’m retired, so why not?  I had the slightest irritation in the eye later that night, accompanied by haloing of every light source.  Again, sterile eye drops fixed that.  By morning, the haloing and irritation were entirely gone and my vision in both eyes was near normal.

Within two days, all symptoms had vanished and my eyesight was clearer, brighter and normal.  The before/after difference was only somewhat noticeable because I didn’t wait, as some do, until the cataracts were so advanced the world looked dim and colorless.  My docs told me for the people who wait, it’s a revelation.  They suddenly realize how much color and clarity they were missing.  I suppose it’s like stress.  I had no idea how much stress was bombarding me daily until I left police work.

A week later I had a visit to my local eye doc who said I was a “poster child” for this kind of surgery, so good were the results and so fast the recovery without any pain or other problems.  My vision is now what it hasn’t been since I was much younger: 20/20. Technically, I could get glasses for the left eye only, which is very slightly weaker than the right, but my combined vision is so good there’s no point.

It’s now a month after the last procedure, and Mrs. Manor and I reflected on how much medicine, when it’s not overtaken by politics, has advanced.  It’s nearly miraculous, and anyone who is not grateful to live in America where such wonders are routine is an idiot, or a D/S/C.

I’ve adapted to wearing lightweight reading glasses on a cord around my neck, which is much easier than digging them out of a pocket whenever I need to read something, though the lens do tend to get dirtier faster that way.  I’ve been putting what I presume to be antibiotic drops in the affected eyes, one per day.  The docs told me that used to be four times a day, but in any case, they’re necessary for about a month after surgery.  By the time this is posted, I’ll be finished with them.  They sting, briefly and mildly, but I’ve whacked my thumb with a hammer, so…

My experience was painless, fast and easy and the results are everything I expected.  Your mileage may vary, but by all means, if you develop cataracts, it’s an easy fix.