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Old 24-09-2020, 11:22 PM
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lynkim1
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cataract surgery vs astronomy

I've just been told I have cataracts and will require surgery to replace the lens in both eyes (I've only just turned 50 )

Its a fairly common surgery so I was hoping there might be someone here that can tell me how the surgery might affect my ability to enjoy astronomy.

Thanks
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Old 25-09-2020, 12:11 AM
raymo
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Hi Lynkim1, Assuming that you have no other eye problems, you will be able
to pursue this hobby just the same as everybody else. Quick and easy, you can even chat with the surgeon during the op, provided that both of you are inclined to chat, that is.
raymo
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Old 25-09-2020, 05:45 AM
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Hi lynkim1, I have had both eyes done, and there is absolutely no problem after it all settles down.
Actually looking at the stars will improve

Leon
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Old 25-09-2020, 10:37 AM
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muletopia (Chris)
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Hello,
You might discuss with your surgeon the dioptre of the lenses to be fitted.


Both mine are -.5. This allows me to read and see long distance.
Must say that reading for long periods is more comfortable with glasses.
Chris
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Old 25-09-2020, 12:19 PM
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blink138 (Pat)
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we have in all honesty patients that have had some "flaring" problems with their new intraocular lens implants, but that was a few years ago
would be fantastic for people whom have had 0.75 dioptre or greater in their spectacles to suddenly have a small sherical residual or nothing post cataract surgery
pat
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Old 25-09-2020, 12:30 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Should improve things I would think. I've had mild cataracts for a few years and it has definitely reduced my ability to see things in faint galaxies. I'm not due for surgery, but have upsized my dob, so all is good!
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Old 25-09-2020, 02:22 PM
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pfitzgerald (Paul)
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The question is Paddy - was the upsized Dob cheaper/dearer than the corrective surgery!

Paul

PS Sorry Paddy - I couldn't help myself. But the views through your Dob are pretty amazing.
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Old 29-09-2020, 12:28 PM
Renato1 (Renato)
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I was told that I would need cataract surgery in future years by an optometrist about four years ago. It explained why I get a diffuse halo around bright stars and planets in any telescope, which i didn't used to get.

Strangely, in each of my subsequent yearly tests - none of the other optometrists have mentioned it.
Regards,
Renato
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Old 30-09-2020, 12:02 AM
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ngcles
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Don't Panic!

Hi Lynkim1,

I had cataract surgery on both eyes just over 12 months ago and my experience was very, very positive one. Somebody asked this question back about 10 months ago and I gave the following reply back then and you might find it helpful:

The short answer is get them done, you won't regret it for a moment, you vision will improve very dramatically, I know it sounds scary but I've got to say I'd prefer to have that operation again than having a trip to the dentist.

Here is my story:

I discovered I had a cataract forming in my right eye nearly five years ago (I was 53) when I went for a regular eye-test. The optometrist suggested I switch my observing eye to the left and wow! What a difference it made in being able to see faint things! (it was still cataract free). I knew things were only going to get worse and finally earlier this year I detected that there was something wrong with the left one too. After putting it off and putting it off out of fear of an operation I finally bit the bullet and re-visited the optometrest. Cutting to the chase, the cataract in my right eye was "ripe" and the left eye had a partially formed one as well. There are strong genetic links to cataracts and both my parents had cataract operations in their early 60s. I am 57.

I was referred off to the leading local eye surgeon (Dr Basil Crayford) who was absolutely and completely fantastic. Brilliant. Listened to all my concerns about telescopic and naked-eye star-images and viewing post-op. I gave him a copy of an article that was in S&T about 6 years ago -- a horror story when the operation was performed without performing a full capsuleotomy (removal of the front of the sac that holds the affected lens (copy attached of the original un-edited version). Basil listened very carefully and he assured me that while he couldn't promise absolute perfection, he had performed over 4000 operations of this sort without a single "failure".

I had the two operations in Orange NSW (large country centre) in day surgery on 8th and 15th August 2019. For a whole host of reasons I won't go into here, I did without twilight sedation and after a succession of anasthetic eye-drops, I then had a "big" local injected into the eye and the procedure was completed in about 10 minutes, and I was back out in the street an hour later.
After a post-op visit the next day, I was allowed to drive home (about 70kms). The improvement in that eye was apparent just 24 hours post op with lovely, tiny, round star images. After several days when they were a bit up and down, they finally settled and by the time the second eye was done was close to perfection. The left eye was done second and again, much improved almost immediately.

Now two and a half months post operatively, they work just like they did when I was a teenager.

Yes, I know it wounds scary. I was very scared prior to the first op but honestly hardly felt a thing and there was no pain at all apart from about 6 hours after when the affected eye felt a bit "scratchy" and was red.

Make sure you talk to the surgeon and tell him about your hobby and needs. Most people don't have the exacting needs we do, nor the desire for absolute perfection in a point light-source. The problems some amateurs have encountered revolve around a wrinkle in the artificial lens that most people would hardly notice if at all. The second issue is bits of the lens capsule that aren't completely removed in most ops becoming apparent when we are fully 6mm dilated at night (in daytime, they're hidden by the iris stopping the eye down to about 1mm aperture).

I know you will be nervous -- that's completely natural but from one who has had it done, it's no big deal -- and I had no sedation or anaesthesia apart from the local. Now two and a half months post operatively, I can now see nine Pleiads naked eye without real difficulty. I was down to three and sometimes two! I was fortunate that prior to cataracts, I had no optical defects at all, no short-sightedness, no barrel great maculae. Now I see like a teenager again.

If you want to ask any other questions P.M me.

In the end, the private health insurance covered the whole bill from the day surgery (x2) and the anaesthesiologist -- The statement said $9,899 for that. The surgeon's fee was $2,200 per eye all-up of which Medicare refund about $790-. In the end, out of my pocket, it cost just short of $3000- for both eyes.

Best,

L.

P.S Can't attach the article because the .pdf is too big. If interested, send me your email address via P.M and I'll sent is direct to you.

P.P.S as others have noted lasik is a different operation on the front surface of the cornea (the first refractive element of the eye) and will not help with cataracts that involve the lens inside the eye, behind the iris. A cataract operation involves removal and replacement of the affected lens. It is the single most performed eye-surgery in the world and has very, very high chances of complete success (better than 99.9%). My lens implants are Alcon (U.S) and my eye-surgeon described them as the Rolls Royce of implant lenses. They are also U.V opaque. The first thing you will notice post-operatively is the vividness of blues and greens -- the colours most affected by the crystallisation of the affected lens(es).



And a later post on the same thread:

The procedure involves two "manual" (with a specialised scalpel) incisions in the cornea through which the surgeon works. These incisions are about 1mm long.

After the front surface of the lens capsule is removed with a pair of very tiny, specialised forceps inserted through the incision, an instrument that is part vacuum cleaner and part infra-red laser is inserted through an incision. It takes about five minutes for this infra-red laser to emulsify the cataract & lens breaking it up into manageable chunks which are then sucked out with, in effect a vacuum cleaner.

After the cataract affected lens is completely removed, the replacement lens (folded up) is inserted via what amounts to a special disposable syringe. Once out of the syringe, it automatically unfolds into place. The surgeon then, if need be smoothes out any wrinkles and voila, it's over!

I know this well because the surgeon supplied me with a DVD video of the operations on my left eye. So I saw (post operatively) the whole thing on my T.V. I've watched it several times (it is only 11 minutes long) Very interesting indeed!

The major things you need to do with the initial consultation with the surgeon is to make them fully aware you are an amateur astronomer. If you are a visual observer (particularly a deep-sky observer) is to make sure they know you use you eyes fully dilated and encourage them to think about a full capusleotomy.

For regular people who give the night sky no more than a casual glance, when they tear the capsule that holds the cataract-affected lens (for the purposes of removal), they remove just enough to put the new lens in. This can leave stuff flapping around the edges. It takes just another minute or so to make sure the full front surface of the capsule is is completely removed.

The second area where "problems" can arise is with tiny wrinkles left in the lens after it is inserted. Make sure they know to take a bit of extra care to ensure it is smoothed-out before finishing up. Most people wouldn't notice the effect of a small wrinkle -- astronomers however will see it immediately in defective (usually astigmatic) naked-eye and telescopic star images.

That all might sound a bit scary but trust me, this is nowadays a very simple and straightforward operation from an experienced ophthalmologist. Apart from the local being injected into the eye (which is much more scary than painful), I felt no pain or discomfort at all, it was over in a few minutes and I was fully conscious and conversed with those in the operating theatre during the procedure.

My vision is simply fantastic -- back to 4/6 (whcih is better than "normal vision"). I can see and resolve small objects at 6 metres than a person with "normal" vision needs to have at 4 metres.

I hope that all helps. If you want a copy of the article I mentioned, send me a P.M and I'll send via email.

Any other questions, happy to reply to any P.M. Last but by no means least: Don't Panic! It's not nearly as bad as you think it will be.


Best,

L.
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Old 30-09-2020, 05:00 PM
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Thanks for your responses, it sounds very reassuring!
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:11 PM
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blindman (Neville)
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Apart from the local being injected into the eye.....
Injected
I have done one eye about 10 years ago, but no injection. Just spray, but that was one of the best in Sydney. I could drive back home after, but I had choffeur anyhow.
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:19 PM
raymo
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Don't let the thought of an eye injection [if you should need one] bother you;
spray or drops totally numb the eye so that you feel nothing at all.
raymo
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:58 PM
MarkBolton (Mark Bolton)
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Irritation in the operated eye is a very common problem. Take medicines and eye drops as prescribed by your doctor and everything goes right. You must read about halos around lights after cataract surgery.
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Old 06-10-2020, 02:26 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Hi Lynkim
You have received a lot of replies and I have skimmed through them.
However, I do not know if one of the significant improvements that new eye lens can achieve has been mentioned.
It is that when you have cataracts the eye lens tend to get a dull brown caste.
This limits viewing at the blue end of the spectrum. My first experience when I got my eyes done is that I could see the blue end much better (it was quite a surprise!).This has a big advantage in astronomy as any images of deep space objects appear much clearer and colourful when the blue spectrum is fully restored by your new eyesite. Also you will find that things that you thought were a certain colour (such as room walls, clothing, curtains etc) appear different and often more attractive.
My eye doctor said "you now have the eyesight of a child!"
Cheers Peter
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Old 06-10-2020, 04:17 PM
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blindman (Neville)
Now I see !!!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjphilli View Post
Hi Lynkim
You have received a lot of replies and I have skimmed through them.
However, I do not know if one of the significant improvements that new eye lens can achieve has been mentioned.
It is that when you have cataracts the eye lens tend to get a dull brown caste.
This limits viewing at the blue end of the spectrum. My first experience when I got my eyes done is that I could see the blue end much better (it was quite a surprise!).This has a big advantage in astronomy as any images of deep space objects appear much clearer and colourful when the blue spectrum is fully restored by your new eyesite. Also you will find that things that you thought were a certain colour (such as room walls, clothing, curtains etc) appear different and often more attractive.
My eye doctor said "you now have the eyesight of a child!"
Cheers Peter
Interesting, but that maybe depends on lens - I know my left eye is Bausch&Lomb lens (done in Europe), for the other one did not ask.
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Old 14-10-2020, 01:55 PM
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I skipped thru here but did anyone ask if you can get replacement lens to fix colour blindness ..or just to see in ultraviolet?....
Alex
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Old 14-10-2020, 03:57 PM
glend (Glen)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjphilli View Post
Hi Lynkim
You have received a lot of replies and I have skimmed through them.
However, I do not know if one of the significant improvements that new eye lens can achieve has been mentioned.
It is that when you have cataracts the eye lens tend to get a dull brown caste.
This limits viewing at the blue end of the spectrum. My first experience when I got my eyes done is that I could see the blue end much better (it was quite a surprise!).This has a big advantage in astronomy as any images of deep space objects appear much clearer and colourful when the blue spectrum is fully restored by your new eyesite. Also you will find that things that you thought were a certain colour (such as room walls, clothing, curtains etc) appear different and often more attractive.
My eye doctor said "you now have the eyesight of a child!"
Cheers Peter
Natural cornea yellow with age, common cause is suppose to be sunlight, so yeah, colour discrimination will be impacted. Any adult already would have spectrum impacts.
Be glad you don't have any degree of macular degeneration, as it is not really fixable, your astro days will decline pretty rapidly- unless it is confined to one eye.
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