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Perspective changes after my cataract surgery


We ODs have an inherent advantage our patients do not-we know what’s coming.

I have comanaged cataract surgeries my entire career. From my first gig with an ophthalmologist following graduation, through my years in private practice, then director of a comanagement center, and now once again in my own business, following patients after cataract surgery has become routine. I had become unaffected by my patient’s postoperative complaints, chalking them up to the normal postop course.

I was thinking about this when my turn under the surgeon’s operating microscope came due. You may have seen literally thousands of postop cases, but it becomes much more real when it’s you on that gurney.

Previously from Dr. Bowling: How tear proteomics can help optometry

We ODs have an inherent advantage our patients do not-we know what’s coming. We have observed the surgeon in the surgical suite, seen the process, and followed our patients postoperatively. I had complete trust in my surgeon; after all, I’ve seen his brilliant work more times than I can recall.

The staff was very attentive, placing me on the aforementioned gurney and wrapping me papoose-style in a nice heated blanket. I was actually pretty relaxed going in. I was quickly asleep, even before the combination Versed and Fentanyl anesthesia. The only part of the procedure that caused any anxiety was a twinge of claustrophobia as the drape was placed over my head.

Related: An OD’s perspective on his own cataract surgery

I had no eye pain postop and was seeing extremely well at the one-day postop visit. Now some time later, the eye is doing great. I had the eye set for near vision, and with the aid of a contact lens for distance in my dominant eye, I am spectacle free for the first time I can remember!

We live in a time when technology enables miraculous things. In the last three years I’ve had bilateral retinal detachment repairs and now cataract extraction with IOL. If I had been born in an earlier time, I would be blind from the conditions. I’m thankful that I live in this time, and that I am able to participate in the process and help the blurred to see. And I will have more empathy for my surgical patients.

Read more from Dr. Bowling here

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