Let’s Talk Cataracts- Part 3

If you’re interested in reading Part One and Part Two of this series on cataracts, here are the links.

Part One is a little about cataracts in general.

Part Two is a detailed post about my experience with having the cataract removed from my first eye.

This post will cover surgery on my second eye.

I had surgery on my second eye (right eye) on August 11th, which was two weeks from my surgery on my first eye.  I was told that the second eye is much easier (a piece of cake) because you’ve already had the other eye done and you know more what to expect.  This was somewhat true, but I found myself with some anxiety and wishing and hoping that they would sedate me just a little deeper for the second surgery as I didn’t like being so awake and alert and seeing the blood fill my eye with the first surgery.

Hubby and I awoke at 4:30 the morning of the surgery to make it to the surgery center by 6 am.  Again, I was my doctor’s first surgical patient of the day.  I checked in and discarded the mask I wore to the center in exchange for one of their masks.  I was taken to the back where I was again weighed and had my temperature taken.

I was put in a bed and this time I had a different nurse and a different anesthesiologist. The nurse started the series of eye drops and in between instilling the drops, she placed an IV catheter in my hand.  Actually, I think they call them saline locks (previously hep locks) but we call them IV catheters in veterinary medicine so they will always be IV catheters to me.  Everything was the same as the first surgery.  I was hooked up to a cardiac monitor.  A blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter were placed and they put a nasal canula under my mask.  My head was placed in the foam cradle head positioner and a pillow placed under my knees.  I was covered with warm blankets.  Again, I remained in the clothes and shoes I had worn and didn’t have to put a hospital gown on.  A surgical bonnet was placed over my head.

A different anesthesiologist came in to talk to me.  My primary concern, other than not being TOO wide awake for this surgery, was controlling my nausea (which was pretty bad after the first surgery despite them giving me Zofran).  The anesthesiologist told me they had given me Versed and Fentanyl for my first surgery and more than likely, the nausea was due to the Fentanyl which is a narcotic with a side effect being nausea and vomiting.  She asked in the past when I had taken pain meds such as hydrocodone (Lortabs) or oxycodone (Percocet), if they had made me nauseated.  I told her yes, almost always, and I told her I tended to avoid Percocet as it usually made me vomit.  So she decided for this second surgery, they would leave off the Fentanyl and only give me the Versed.  I expressed my concern about not wanting to be too awake and how I had felt a pin prick and jumped with my first eye.  She explained that my ophthalmologist WANTED me awake during surgery as she would be giving me voice commands to follow.  But she told me they numb the eye very well so while I would feel some pressure, I should not feel pain.  She said there’s not much they can do to prevent feeling the pressure but they don’t want a patient to feel pin pricks.  I told her I was just being a weenie and all was good.

For the nausea, this time they gave me 3 tablets: Zofran, Meclizine (Antivert) and Decadron (Dexamethasone).  That worked!

My ophthalmologist came in around 7:20 and briefly talked to me and they wheeled me to surgery at 7:30.  They injected the Versed as they were wheeling me to the surgery suite.  I did not feel even the least bit woozy. Usually Versed makes me quite chatty (when I’ve had it for colonoscopies) but I don’t think I had that reaction this time.

Again, I remember everything despite them telling me I would have some amnesia.  I remember them washing my eye, turning on the oxygen to the nasal canula, the eye doctor telling me she was going to drape my eye and apply the eye retractor.  I remember her telling me she was starting the procedure and I saw a swirling red eddy in my eye.  This time I felt a little pressure but no pin prick sensations and no pain whatsoever.  I could hear the noises of the phacoemulsification (sort of a whirring noise of the machine).  I remember her telling me she was putting in the IOL.  I heard her say, “Okay, okay, okay…. OKAY… Perfect!”  I remember the doctor announcing the surgery end time as 7:50 am and I was done.  I remember her telling me everything had gone perfectly.  I asked her if this cataract was also a bad one and she said “Yes, but not as bad as your left eye.”  They placed a bandage over my eye and sent me to recovery.

This time I had NO nausea which was wonderful.  They gave me a sprite to sip on, called my husband back, and went over the post op instructions (which were the same so I won’t repeat all that) and walked me out to the car.  It was 8:05!  We were home by 8:30!

I was not near as sleepy this time since I had not had the fentanyl.  I slept a short time after arriving home and started on the eyedrops.  The brightness was astounding!  I couldn’t believe how white the color white actually was.  Even the sinks in my bathroom appeared so much brighter to me (and they are an almond color).  I couldn’t believe the brightness when I looked outside and how clean and bright my kitchen floor appeared.  I joked with my husband that I had been ready to get a new kitchen floor as no matter how much I cleaned it, it always appeared yellowish and dingy.  Now it was white again.  It had been my cataracts all along and not my housekeeping!

I did experience burning in this eye (which I had not experienced in my first eye).  My right nostril ran when my eye burned, although my eye never did.  At times I felt there was sand in my eye.  I used artificial tears which seemed to help with this.  I did also have a red, hemorrhagic spot on my sclera in this eye (which I didn’t have in my first eye).  It disappeared after a week.  Sometimes I had the sensation of a bruise in this eye.

I went for my post-op check the next morning and everything looked good.   My post-op pressures in both eyes were normal.  My right eye was still 5 mm dilated so things were still a little blurry.  She said she would see me again in two weeks.  I was glad to have cataract surgeries all behind me.


About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
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4 Responses to Let’s Talk Cataracts- Part 3

  1. I found myself blinking a LOT while reading this Gail. LOL! So you didn’t feel any anxiety this time? What was it you had to be awake for? Moving your eye? Modern medicine is always a marvel to me.

    • Gail says:

      I did feel actually more anxious with the 2nd surgery as I wanted to be more sedated than I was the first time. I was told the doctor would give me voice commands to move my eye to the right, to the left, etc. But I don’t recall her ever giving me a single command but remember her telling me everything she was doing (both anesthesiologists told me she was particularly good at communicating with her patients on what exactly she was doing).

  2. Wendy Reasoner says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Gail. If I ever have to have cataract surgery, I’ll know what to expect!

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