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Pop Goes the Culture

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What's New, Emu?

Laughing Matters Ink

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cataract eyeCataract Surgery: I See, Said The Blind Man
by Marjorie Dorfman

What are cataracts and why do they affect our sight? Why are they so prevalent among the aging? Read on, even if your vision is 20/20 because someday, when you aren’t looking, this could happen to you.


As someone who has had cataract surgery performed on both eyes, I suppose I am somewhat of an authority on this sensitive subject. I don’t fall within the norm, as I had my surgery when I was in my early forties. According to today’s statistics, most cataracts begin to form about age fifty. I am not surprised, however, as throughout my life there have been few things that I have done which would be considered as falling within the norm. At the time, my doctor informed me that more and more people were developing cataracts in the earlier stages of their lives for reasons as yet unknown. The cause for mine was never really determined. After a series of tests the only thing I could trace it to was an accidental blow over my eye I received from banging into my bathroom door. (It was in the middle of the night when I was too groggy to notice that not only was there a door before me, but also one which was closed.)

About half the population develops a cataract by age 65 and nearly everyone over seventy-five has at least one. Infants can have congenital cataracts, but these are usually related to the mother having German measles, chickenpox or some other infectious disease during pregnancy. In rarer cases, they can also be inherited.

In any case, surgery of any kind is always a pretty scary venture, and when I had my cataracts done, I was given the choice of an injection in the eye or anesthesia.

the eyeAn injection in the eye! And I am a writer of horror fiction!

"Knock me out," I screamed, just in case they didn’t hear me. "Knock me out!"

For those of you who are wondering what a cataract is, allow me to shed some light on the matter (even though when you have one, light is the last thing you can count on). A cataract is a cloudiness of the eye’s natural lens, which lies between the front and back area of the eye, behind the iris and the pupil, (nowhere near the devil and the deep blue sea). This clouding interferes with the ability to see clearly. (Its intellectual counterpart, thinking clearly, unfortunately is not a procedure that can be corrected surgically.) The great majority of cataracts are the result of aging, which causes chemical changes in the natural lens of the eye and interferes with its clarity.

Think of the lens of the eye as similar to that on a camera, focussing light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens, which is composed of mostly water and protein, adjusts the eye’s focus. This protein is precisely arranged (by The Great Arranger in the Sky) so that the lens is always clear and light can pass through it, almost like an internal window cleaner. During the aging process, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This, my friends, is a cataract and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it more and more difficult to see.

cataractsThere are three types of cataracts. The nuclear variety, which is caused by the natural changes in the aging process, develops in the nucleus of the lens and is commonly seen as it forms. A cortical cataract, which forms in the cortex of the lens, gradually extends its spokes from the outside of the lens to the center. These are common in diabetics. The subcapsular cataract may also develop among diabetics. (Aren’t Diabetics lucky! They have their own choices of cataracts!) In this case, the cataract begins at the back of the lens. If you are about to ask which type I had, I couldn’t say. All I know is that I was just about legally blind in one eye before I realized the problem and did something about it.

Having been there twice, I can describe what happens very clearly. A cloud suddenly passes over your eye when you least expect it. It doesn’t bring April rain or even Mayflowers, but rather a sudden grayness and the inability to focus clearly. Bright sunlight makes it worse and I used to feel like a vampire, rejuvenated by the darkness of the night. I can remember once waiting several minutes to cross a street on a sunny day because I wasn’t sure whether the light had changed or not. I only crossed when I saw others doing so. I once fell down some stairs in my parent’s house because my depth perception was so distorted they looked unfamiliar, taking on alien stair dimensions (whatever that was.)



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After two cataract operations and a macular edema, we found this wonderful help for eye health:

Natural Eye Care

Natural Eye Care
is a must see.
(Forgive the pun.)


Don't miss this excellent book:

Malone The Magnificent: The Eye Cataract Surgery

by Laura L. Smith

Ever wonder what cataract surgery would be like if you lived inside the body? What if there was a device inside the body that could perform this surgery upon request. This will come to pass with new developments in science and nanotechnology. For now, we can only read about the possibilities as Malone the Magnificent, performs his magic. Malone the Magnificent is a rare magical blue cat who can fix anything. Taking the technical facts about cataract surgery and weaving them into an allegorical tale makes this book a must read for children and adults alike.


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