Friday, 14 September 2018

The Belmont Cataract

For the benefit of those of you who are unfamiliar with my ophthalmic history, it almost goes back to time immemorial, as those venerable peerages might say.

When I was a youth of about fifteen, suffering from a bout of ennui brought on by pop Thompson's maths class at Campbell, I suppose that was the time when the squinting commenced.

Thereafter I wore spectacles.

When I was about twenty years of age I purchased contact lenses, and wore those instead.

Fast forward to 1988, the year I made an appointment with that eminent Ulster eye surgeon, Mr Eric Cowan, whose consulting-rooms were in Eglantine Avenue, Belfast.

In a sense, Timothy was quite avant-garde in those days.

Mr Cowan pioneered the ophthalmic practice known as radial keratotomy, whereby minute incisions are made around the optic pupil in order to correct or improve myopia. 

I spent forty-eight hours in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, for this surgery.

It did improve the old eye-sight to the extent that I did not need to wear glasses.

My vision, however, deteriorated over time, and I decided to have laser surgery.

Let us Fast Forward again to 2017.

I was on holiday abroad in the bright sunshine one morning, at the swimming-pool of my hotel, when I became aware of a blemish of some sort in my right eye.

This blemish or spot is tricky to describe, so when I arrived home in Old Blighty I arranged for an appointment with the optician.

I was apprised that I had a cataract.

The optician wrote to my doctor, who arranged for me to see the relevant cataract clinic and, after many months, I was finally seen by the eye doctor.

I was informed that I had a cataract on my left eye as well, though I was unaware of this.

By this stage the cataract on my right eye was very blurry indeed.

I was reliant on my left eye for vision.

In April, 2018, I received a letter from the hospital letting me know that I was on a waiting-list for an appointment with them, though there was no mention of cataract surgery.

A few months later I was chatting my my aunt on the blower and she recounted her treatment with an eye surgeon based mainly in Belfast and Hillsborough, County Down.

Furthermore, when she heard of my predicament and the indefinite length of the waiting-list for cataract surgery, she urged me to get it done instanter, and highly recommended her consultant.

I called the clinic in Hillsborough, which happens to be directly beside the war memorial and parish church.

I was told that an appointment with Mr Rankin could be arranged within a fortnight, and that surgery could be about three weeks thereafter.

Well, dear readers, I considered it and called them back for an appointment.

Mr Rankin examined my eyes again and explained everything to me.

I decided to go ahead with surgery as soon as possible, so it took place on Wednesday this week at 3pm.

Service, care, treatment, staff were all second-to-none, as they say.

I didn't feel a thing apart from some stinging in the eye when the anaesthetic eye drops were introduced.

I'm writing this piece at almost 6pm, fifty-one hours later.

The sight in my right eye has been transformed and, as far as I'm concerned, it's virtually miraculous.

It's almost like having a new eye.

In fact, my right eye - the one which had a cataract - now has better, clearer, brighter vision than the "good" one.

I have an appointment with Mr Rankin in a few weeks time for a follow-up review, when I'll mention the other eye to him.

1 comment :

Unknown said...

I had cataracts removed from both my eyes a couple years ago. Here we have not waiting to get it done and we have 3 different options for lenses. The first will mean having to wear reading glasses and is what our Medicare will cover. the second one would have one eye seeing far and the other seeing close so glasses might be necessary for one or the other depending on the strength of both eyes. The third gives you 20/20 vision. But it costs over $3000 per eye. That is the one I went for, being an artist. Well worth it. I was stunned at just how bad my sight was.