The Ayes Don’t Have It
November 7, 2008
The news about my colon was fairly good. The news about my eyes has not been so good.My eyes, never that good to start out with, have been deteriorating. I was recently diagnosed as having cataracts. The most grievous effect has been that my night vision has dropped to a dangerous level. At night, almost dark (dim light) is now just dark, lights shining in darkness are twice as glaring as they once were. It becomes close to impossible to read road signs and traffic signs while driving at night until I am impossibly close to them. Add driving rain (as we have had lately), and night driving begins to approach driving blind, especially as my job involves a lot of night driving in winter. I am trying to cut down the driving as much as possible in my three months leading up to retirement, but for various reasons that has not been very feasible.
The first eye doctor who examined me recommended that I wait two years before having cataract surgery. I got a second opinion from a more specialized doctor, partly because driving at night has become so dangerous and partly hoping to get the surgery paid for while I am still under fully employed insurance.
The second eye doctor told me that besides cataracts, I have damage to the blood vessels feeding my eyes, from years of problems with high blood pressure. Although my blood pressure is under better control, my history in this regard competes with whatever flaws in my body are likely to kill me a week from now or a decade from now. I am hoping to live until I retire at least because my pension is set up so my wife gets the full amount if I die. At this point in our life, this counts as my main “life insurance.”
In any case, I am not an especially good candidate for cataract surgery. It might go OK, but it might go awry. If it goes awry, I might need more surgery; my sight might get worse instead of better; it’s in the realm of possibility that I might lose my sight in one eye.
I will go in for another exam in a month. All in all, the best bet seems to be to tough it out until I retire and then avoid night driving as much as possible (and there should be little reason for driving at night most of the time, and even if I do it will be for short distances on familiar roads).