I woke up to get ready before my alarm set to go off at 5:00am. I told myself, “You have done this before...you know what to expect.”
So, with that thought in mind, off I went to the Columbia Surgical Institute for cataract eye surgery on my left eye. I felt I knew what I was getting into, as I had had my right eye previously done. My wife, Robin, drove and en route, the satellite radio station was tuned to inspirational pastor Joel Osteen. His words were calming to me. I chuckled under my breath, as I remember Joel Osteen being with Nik Wallenda and comforting him before his crossing of the Grand Canyon. Well, I wasn’t crossing the Grand Canyon, but eye surgery is surgery, right? That said, Osteen’s words and Robin’s calmness also provided comfort for me.
We checked into the Columbia Surgical Center at 7:00am and took care of all the administrative work, and we were promptly escorted to the pre-op area. Vitals were taken, several rounds of eye drops were administered, my hair net was positioned and an IV was inserted in my right arm in preparation for the sedative — all done with precision by Kristine, my assigned nurse.
Dr. Allan Rutzen, who would perform the surgery, stopped by to say hello, and just his stopping by provided a sense of relief and comfort to me, as I knew I was in great hands.
Soon, I was wheeled into the room with the LenSx laser, which is used to measure and provide a 3-D image of my eye. This image was then used to direct the laser for making precise incisions in my eye. After this step, the laser was also used to break up my existing cataract. These procedures were painless and bladeless, and took about two to three minutes to complete. The only thing I felt was slight pressure on my eye — but not uncomfortable at all. After these steps were completed, I was taken into the operating room, where the broken-up cataract was completely removed through the incisions by Dr. Rutzen. He then inserted a new intraocular lens, called a Toric Lens. Dr. Rutzen rotated the Toric lens to precisely correct my astigmatism and provide me with “monovision,” meaning that my right eye is used for distant vision and my left eye for close-up vision. This process took about 20 minutes.
All in all, from check-in to post-op check-out, I was back home by 9:30am. The bottom line is that I am grateful for talented surgeons like Dr. Rutzen and his local practice, and that this surgery has now provided me a better vision quality of life. Do not be afraid: This process is painless, and if you need cataract surgery, the technology available today is so outstanding that there is no reason to wait. Go get your quality of life back.