Friday, May 03, 2013

Normal vision will be resumed as soon as possible

Self portrait sketch 3 May 2013
The day after left phacoelmulsification of cataract with intraocular lens implantation

to illustrate what I look like on the other side of your computer screen!
I'm going to be pacing myself re use of the computer over the next few days following successful eye surgery yesterday.

The surgery yesterday at Moorfields Hospital was to give me a new lens in my left eye.  This is the first half of a plan to resolve two problems with my eyes - cataracts and near acute narrow angle glaucoma.  The good news is my optic nerve is OK and has not been damaged by the latter.

For those who aren't squeamish this is what phacoelmulsification involves!

Thing is - I have to wear an eye shield for 24 hours (and then every night for two weeks) and the glasses for seeing the screen don't fit over the eye shield unless worn at a jaunty angle of about 45%.  Plus I have to point my nose in the air and look down!  It seemed a good idea to record this for posterity!

So I now have four weeks of regular eye drops - and today is when I learn how to do them for myself.  Thank you so much for all those who wrote with tips following my Facebook appeal.  The "closed eyes, plop the drop in the corner and let it roll in when I open my eye" technique works fine!

For the next three weeks I have one eye which matches the prescription lenses in my glasses and one which doesn't - which is going to take some working out!  I hear some people have a lens removed from their glasses.  Any tips for how other artists / computer users have coped with this would be appreciated.

However in three weeks time on 23 May the right eye will be operated on as well.  Then I'll have two eyes which don't match my reading / computer glasses for six weeks!

Finally, at the beginning of July I can go and get prescriptions for new lenses for glasses for reading.  My distance vision should be absolutely fine and not require lenses

I am so looking forward to being able to:
  • read exhibition labels without having to zero in close to the label!
  • see tone and colour properly again
  • read small print without magnifying glasses
  • not have double vision any more without glasses
  • drive at night and in poor visibility again  - and without the starburst effect from all the headlights
For more about artists with eye problems and other disabilities - and how this all came about for me see MAKING A MARK: Artists overcoming disabilities 25 Feb 2013


The Good News:
Eye shield now off and it's as if a film or veil has been lifted. Colours are better and everything is crystal clear and sharp.  The contrast is back and I can now read the titles of books which are across the room, whereas if I close the eye that's been done and look just with my right I can't even make out where the title is on the spine. Plus  I can read a book with my current reading glasses.

The Bad News:
I can't see the screen with either reading glasses or distance glasses and I recently broke my computer glasses.  Which means in order to work on the computer I have to put a patch over my left eye.  So I now need a proper eye patch so that I don't have to keep using dressings and difficult to get hold of tape for my hypoallergenic needs (Blenderm Surgical Tape if you're interested).  Maybe an eye patch and an inflatable parrot......


  1. Dear Katherine,
    Please take care. Hope you'll get well soon, but take it easy.
    Best wishes, Sadami

  2. So pleased to hear that your op was successful and that the optic nerve is undamaged. Perhaps sending tomyou patience over the next weeks will also be a good idea.

  3. Sorry to hear you have been going through all this, Katherine, but glad it's going well. I hope you will be feeling better and enjoying much better vision very soon. As Sadami has said, take it easy!

  4. Katherine, all the best for a speedy recovery, good wishes for your next one x

  5. Lets look forward to the brightest and clearest summer yet! All the best Katherine!

  6. Glad to hear it went well Katherine and wish you a speedy recovery. I absolutely love the self portrait with eye patch, it's superb!

  7. Wishing you a speedy recovery and return.

  8. How brave you are after all you have been through. Glad the operation was a success for you and wishing you a speedy healing.

  9. Best wishes Katherine, I hope the time soon passes and you have your eyesight restored. And then once it is all over you can start to enjoy drawing again. Take care x

  10. good luck, hope all goes well with the recovery, I wont forget in a hurry you driving down the hairpin bends of mont ventux into the setting sun calmly asking me to tell you which way to steer as you couldnt see properly!!!!! Really hope normal vision is restored soon xx

  11. Katherine, all the best. I've known several people having the same op ( except they didn't tell me the fancy name) and all were successful. Love your self portrait. tell it how it is girl.

  12. HOw impressive! I wish you a successful and speedy recovery, Karin

  13. All good healing wishes to you Katherine! I love your sp drawing - maybe a piece of paper over the bad lens? (instead of taking the lens out?). Take care - soon it will be summer and you will be full strength!

  14. Thanks for all the good wishes everybody - it all seems to be coming along nicely. Did I tell you there was absolutely no pain? Most odd!

    Brilliant idea Katy!

  15. Am happy that the operation was a success. Before I had cataract surgery in both eyes my surgeon suggested that I get a "reading lens" in my left eye. That way I could avoid having to have reading glasses.
    I did that and it works great. Although I still like to have reading glasses when reading a book or magazine.

  16. Interesting! How does that work - I thought both eyes needed to be the same

    What they said to me was that naturally long-sighted people (me) generally get on better with long-sighted lenses. Something to do with the wiring in the brain and what's it's used to

  17. Eye Matey! Lookin' good.
    Looks like all this will be worth it when done.
    Glad to hear the op was a success.

    And nice drawing too.

  18. So much wishing you to get through this as straightforwardly as possible and find wonderful improvements in your sight to make it all worth it.
    You do so much for other artists, it's amazing.

  19. Your brave, eccentric drawing really caught my eye! My dad said that the difference in his colour vision after this op was amazing (and wonderful). I wish you the same and thanks for such an interesting and useful blog. A speedy recovery.

  20. The big difference for me is looking at my book shelves from where I normally sit in my armchair. Suddenly all the colour and contrast and titles are back. I

    hadn't quire realised how much vision I'd lost.

    I think I began to realise last year while trying to produce artwork for the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition - and it was a real struggle.

    This year I just passed on even trying because I didn't want to go through all the frustration of not being able to do what I wanted to see and do.

    I've kept sketching while losing my sight but stopped the more formal artwork. So once I've got the proper eyesight back the proper artwork should start up again as well.

  21. I wish you a speedy recovery and 20/20 a.s.a.p.! Take good care, and I hope you will be creating your beautiful art soon.

  22. 'Ouch!' I hope it all settles down soon for you.

    I have had a lot of eye surgery and it certainly improved both my sight and quality of life.

  23. So pleased the surgery has gone well for you. I'm not too squimish and looked up your link about the op. - all I can say is you are one brave lady. Considering what you have been through I heartily thank you for your time and trouble in linking our local art gallery to your list.
    ....ann hyde (Ilfracombe)

  24. Came here from James Gurney's blog post on casein paints. All the best for a amooth second operation and a speedy recovery! I can only imagine what it's like being an artist and getting surgery on both eyes.
    I am so terribly near sighted, I can't see further than my nose - yet having my eyes lasered is something that I am really afraid to consider.
    Again, all the best for your eyes!

  25. I'm so glad this is not painful - it's quite enough already to have been so inconvenienced. Wishing you speedy healing!

  26. Great SKETCH!!!
    Also really thankful for your eyesight- it was only yesterday that I really appreciated the full facts after a very long discussion with you about it.
    Also, thanks for all your timely advice!


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