LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings by Barbara La Valleur — The Eyes Have It

OMG! “What a difference a day makes ♪♫♫♪♪♫♫♪,♪♫♫♪,” as the Dinah Washington song goes.

Went to Mayo Clinic on Wednesday and had cataract surgery on my left eye. It was a surprisingly easy procedure. The prep time actually took longer than the surgery.

I’m now officially a “Patient Lens Implant Identification Card” carrier. The brand name is AcrySof out of Fort Worth, Texas. My mother, a staunch Texan who never did quite loose that Southern drawl despite moving away as a teenager, would be happy to know I now have another Texas connection.

A few years ago when I had an eye exam and was informed I was getting cataracts in both eyes, I wondered allowed how I would know when it was time to have surgery. As a photojournalist, my eyes are my everything. The ophthalmologist assured me, “You’ll know.” I wasn’t so sure about that.

Fast-forward to the end of my nine-day Cuba trip earlier this year during, on which I took over 5,000 photos. I knew. No question. I made an appointment at my favorite health care facility when I got back. For that, I give thanks to my dear husband, Arnie Bigbee, a 32-year Mayo Clinic retiree, who provides us with outstanding health care insurance. Sure enough, time for surgery.

So Wednesday was the day. After about 40 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of surgery, it was over. I was awake the entire time with slight sedation and numbing in and around my left eye, laying motionless in the reclined medial chair, while Dr. Sanjay Patel did his “magic.”

A corneal specialist and professor of ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Patel’s skilled hands inserted that 13-millemeter devise that looks like a contact lens with two tiny, curved appendages, into my eye.

The “light show” that I had during surgery was, in and of itself, fascinating; incredibly colorful.

After putting a patch over my eye, I was sent off to rest for the remainder of the day. Given the drive from Edina to Rochester, Minn., we opted to stay there overnight, especially given today’s 7:20 a.m. post-op exam.

Once the patch was off, I could not believe my eye(s)! It was like viewing a tropical jungle from my left eye and a dry dessert with my right eye.

The difference is best seen in the following two photos. The one on the left is how I “NOW” see out of my cataract-free eye. The one on the right (which I altered in my computer’s Photos program) is how the same view looks through my right eye.

I assured Dr. Patel he’d be seeing me again soon.

Leave a Reply