Cataract Operations
That Go Wrong
Ta Moko


Subject: Your internet article on cataract surgery

Wow! I am so scared to start out with. I was happy to read your article to know that cataract surgery does not have to be a 15-20 minute piece of cake. It is darn scary. I am so sorry for what you are going through or have gone through. Was it a while back when you wrote your article? Are things better. I have heard people say, things are worse or not much better after surgery than before, and of course there are miracle stories too.

About 15 years ago I had a torn retina, now repaired, but never able to see out of that eye sharply or properly once the laser surgery was done. Now on August 13, I am planning on having cataract surgery on that same left eye. Yes I am afraid about a torn retina, and other complications the doctors do not tell you about, but you do read about. Yes my doctor too seems very sincere with a nice smile sincere eyes when he looks at you and is supposed to be one of the best here at Baylor here in Houston, Texas. Where are you?, but I am so scared.

My husband is disabled and can not drive at all. If I have problems with floaters, night streaks, I do not know what to do. I do not have any relatives here in Houston. Like everyone says, I cannot afford for anything to go wrong with my eyes. My left eye is pretty bad. He says it has a large cataract that is very clouded. Would you have done anything different other than wait longer for your cataract to get worse before doing the surgery. How do you know you are doing the right thing. What are your suggestions? Please answer.

I am told I have a slight crease or wrinkle in one eye. My right eye will need to be done too. The doctor says that it will all be ok, but the wrinkle collects water, and therefore extends recovery time. I already feel tense about having blurry vision and I know how worried I will be if it doesn't soon clear up. Please, any suggestions you can give me or questions I need to ask, please advise. I appreciate so much you writing this article. Thank you.

--- Sincerely, Jacki Harrison

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Hi, Jacki:

Thanks for your concerned letter.

I reread the article, and agree with much of what I said four years ago.

That "Martian Ray" light that I mentioned in the article ... that prevented my driving at night --- was cured for another $1000 paid for by the feds, $500 by me --- by a 15-second laser procedure a year later in the offending eye. Seems the plastic lens had a tuck in it.

After the laser procedure, the crazy streak went away, but I still don't drive at night. The imbalance in the eyes (that I also mention) means that the headlights of cars approaching me are just too confusing for me to focus on, much less focus on the road.

As far as reading and seeing, I have adjusted. Through the simple measure of going to another doctor --- not Dr. Zorillo --- I have gotten some glasses that help. I still read laboriously, but have figured out way to move the book around so I can see the text.

The irony is that I am going to have another cataract operation --- on the other eye --- next month.. Why? Once they fix one eye, the other can weaken. The new eye, no matter how faulty --- is still the stronger. Everything I see with my old left eye is a blur (although a colorful blur). At age seventy-five, I have little choice. As my new doctor says, "it is ripe." (And I trust him because he moves slowly, seems to listen to me, doesn't seem to care for the money so much.)

You shouldn't forget that cataract operations work for most people. And if I had been less hyped up, my reaction might have been more content. I am a perfectionist, and the unexpected set me off balance.

My advice to you is to go and get a second (and perhaps even a third) opinion. Don't tell doctor #2 that you are seeking "a second opinion." Go to him or her fresh. Ask their opinion as if you were starting from scratch.

If I had done so back in 2004, I might have put off the operation until, as I wrote, I could no longer drive nor read with what I had.

Balanced against this, of course, is age. When we get into our the far senior years, it gets harder to harder to recuperate from even the mildest operation. One of the reasons I am now going into Cataract Operation #2 is because I want to get this stuff over with before I am ninety.

The other reason is that I have found a doctor who seems far more humane.

--- LWM
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RE: Maori


Hi Lolita,

I recently came across a photo on the ralphmag website

and was wondering if you had more information on the photographer and the man in the photo? It's a beautiful picture.

--- Anna Lewis

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Hi, Anna:

The photographs came from the book Moko Maori Tattoo by the photographer Hans Neleman. It is a traditional decoration of the Maori of New Zealand, and is known as Ta Moko. The book was issued by Edition Stemmle of Switzerland.

--- L. Lark
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