For some months now, I’ve noticed my vision becoming less sharp. I finally decided to see if a bit of LASIK surgery might be a possible solution and scheduled an appointment with Prague’s premier LASIK center at a local hospital.
The appointment started off in the opposite direction I had hoped for when I was told the ophthalmologist with whom I had the appointment was not in and that his associate would see me. After a few minutes wait, a lovely young woman came in to speak with me and asked questions about my medical and visual history. I thought she was the nurse. She was the associate.
A few minutes later, I was ushered into the examination room where the young doctor did an eye exam. She quickly informed me that LASIK would not help me, and I needed to meet with her colleague. She thereupon personally walked me up to the next floor, where I met an equally young and lovely lens implantation specialist. In spite of the fact that I’m a medical provider, I can be a bit slow on the uptake. I was still of the mindset that we were talking about improving my vision which, in my mind, was a simple matter of loss of visual acuity due to aging.
The second ophthalmologist told me all about this wonderful multifocal lens that would improve my ability to read, without the Dollar Store readers I’ve used for years. “Yea!” I thought. I would love to ditch the readers. She then took me into her examination room and started with the same basic eye exam I had one floor below.
At some point, I threw out the question, “I guess LASIK would not work for me?”
“No” she said, “it will not correct the cataract.”
Cataract! What? Where did that come from? I immediately said, “I’m too young for a cataract!”
“Obviously not,” came her reply.
I was still trying to absorb this information when the young lady, now peering into my dilated right pupil, said “Oh!”
I do medical examinations and, as hard as I try, sometimes that “Oh!” just slips out. It usually isn’t good.
Now, the doctor is speaking Czech to her assistant. Next, the assistant is on the phone, and then we are moving hurriedly to another office. I asked what the “Oh!” was about. The doc tells me she thinks she sees a hole in my retina, and I’ll need retinal laser surgery.
My goodness, the Czechs move quickly! This time, the retinal specialist is a rather ordinary-looking man who, though quite pleasant and reassuring, does mean things to my eyeballs as he looks for holes. After about 10 minutes of misery, he announces that my retinas are not perfect, but they are good enough and—drum roll—NO HOLES! “No laser today,” he says.
By now, I am so relieved I don’t have a hole in my retina I don’t even care that I have a cataract. Back we go to the second office, where the informed consent for cataract surgery and several bits of paperwork for pre-surgery testing are prepared. Alas, I am told that, because my retina is not perfect, I can only have the monofocal lens and will still have to rely on readers. They scheduled me for cataract surgery in three weeks, and I left the office with the typed medical report in my hand, just two hours after I arrived in the ophthalmology department.