Saturday, April 01, 2017

The eyes have it: twelve months on

Today is the first anniversary of the first of two surgeries to replace the lenses of my eyes.

After nearly fifty years of being utterly dependent on very strong glasses or contact lenses I no longer need either and my sight without them is nearly as good as it was with them before - in some ways better.

I also learned just before that first surgery a year ago today that I was in the early stages of developing a cataract in one eye and at risk of getting one in the other. If I had been born a century or two earlier I would be facing the certainty of losing the sight of one eye and the strong possibility of going blind.

I  am very glad to have been born into a world which has the wonders of modern medicine and am reminded that, however gloomy we sometimes get about the world, in many ways life is getting better for most people and has the capability of getting much better still.

Of course there are too many people in poverty, too many who do not benefit from these fantastic advantages. We must work to improve that situation - and I am proud that Britain is one of the most generous donors among rich nations and one of very few indeed which honours the promise to give 0.7% of GDP in aid. (It needs to be spent better but let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater.)

And the number of people in the most extreme poverty around the world, the number who have no access to the best care is getting smaller and smaller. Don't let anyone kid you that things are getting worse. 2016 was the best year to be alive in human history. in Britain and the world, and 2017 will continue to be even better.


Jim said...

They replaced the lenses of your eyes? - i thought they used a laser to reshape the lenses you already had.

Chris Whiteside said...

Laser surgery to reduce the degree of curvature of the lens works for many people who have myopia - a condition affecting the eye, not the brain - to a lesser extent than I had. This is the more common type of eye surgery.

In my case the degree of reshaping required would not have left enough of the lens behind for the remainder to be stable. Hence I had to have lens replacement. It is a similar procedure to that now available to restore the sight of people who are blind because of a cataract.

Jim said...

I never knew they could do that, had seen cornea replacements but not lens.

As you say medical proceedures have certainly came a long way.

Jim said...

I still dont get the "brain" comment though??

Chris Whiteside said...

The main meaning of the term Myopia is the medical term for short sight caused by excess curvature of the lenses of the eyes.

Obviously, this is a medical condition, from which I used to suffer and which is a matter of the eyes and not the brain.

However, the terms myopia, myopic, and short-sighted are also sometimes used as metaphors to describe a person or idea who the speaker disagrees with, and as an accusation that the person or idea so described is failing to consider things far enough ahead, e.g. failing to consider second or third stage consequences of their actual or proposed course of action.

This used to be a sore point among some visually handicapped people who did not like having their disability used as a pejorative term to criticise someone else's intelligence.

The anonymous comment about brain problems, which I deleted as it had nothing constructive to add to the discussion, was making this kind of point.

Jim said...

Lol, Never saw it, I could see there was a comment there, but I was using my phone, which means the comment I am writing is quite a large size, but any existing and the main article are a much smaller text.

But rather ironically for this post, I did not have my glasses with me, had left them in the car. (Cant wear glasses when driving).