Seeing Anew


Several years ago, during a regular eye exam, my doctor mentioned to me that my cataracts were growing pretty quickly. While I heard what he was saying, I was in no mood to schedule an elective surgery. And while I could tell I was losing some depth perception, in general I did not think my vision was that compromised.

That doctor retired, and my husband and I began seeing Dr. John Campagna here in San Antonio. The first time he looked at my eyes, about a year and a half ago, he said, “You know, these cataracts could come out any time.” I sort of yelped, and said, “No!” He kindly smiled and said, “Well, you will know when the time is right.”

Last June, Doug and I were having lunch at Teka Molino, a favorite Mexican restaurant. I was facing the windows, and the sunlight was creating a glare. A friend approached us, and when he said hello, I had to confess that I could not see him. I knew my cataracts were getting in the way. I had not recognized him in the bright glare. This friend had just had cataract surgery, and encouraged us to do the same. His euphoria was contagious.

Over the last several months, both Doug and I have had both eyes set free from cataracts. The surgery was so easy, and the staff at Methodist North Central Ambulatory Care Center proved to be both professional and personable.

Now I am seeing through new lenses—not glasses—lenses implanted in my eyes. I am astounded by the radiance that I now perceive. So much luminescence! So much beauty! Colors and textures have a depth and a richness that I’d long forgotten. I have a lot of peripheral vision again, and catch glimmers of movement off to the side, glimmers that I would have missed before the surgeries.

And, we did not have to have our white kitchen repainted! I had thought that the paint had yellowed quickly. The kitchen had been painted only two years ago, and I had been fussing about the quality of the paint. How could it already have gotten so dingy? Two cataract surgeries later, and I know that I was looking through the yucky yellow grey of the cataract. Now the kitchen looks bright and shiny—no painting necessary.

I’m giving humble and hearty thanks for modern medicine, and for our physicians. We are the beneficiaries of so much research, and so much technical skill on the part of those who measure the eye, create the lenses, prepare the eye drops that facilitate the healing.

I’m also reflecting on the ways in which my sight may have dulled in other ways. What might I have missed because of some cataract-like tissue on the soul? A gentle nudge toward awareness. A kind invitation to be mindful of my limitations in every regard.

More than anything, I’m enjoying the feast of truly being able to see, and beholding the garden, the border collies, the fat cat, Doug, the household, with delight in seeing them all anew.