General

Cataract

I must be one of the few growing up in Hong Kong without having to wear eye glasses, until recently. A few years ago, I began to see double every time I teed off. Then I had problem discerning the route number of approaching buses. I went to see my doctor friend who said that I needed eye glasses, adding that I had early signs of cataract, but assuring me that they weren’t serious. When I found that my eyesight was not getting any better, I went to the Government Family Clinic in December 2014 and was referred to the Caritas Eye Centre at Sham Shui Po. The nurse responsible for screening gave me an appointment for January. I was so impressed with the efficiency and service for retired people until I looked closer at the date – January 2016 – for a real consultation.

January 2016 found that I needed to be in Whistler; so I asked for a new appointment and was given one in November 2016. I made it a point to arrive the Centre early, but there were already over 50 people there waiting at the gate, a few with eye patches, some in wheelchairs or walking sticks, and most were looking frail, tired and miserable. I began to worry. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I was made to go through the regular tests and after two hours found myself before a young and rather pretty eye doctor who told me nonchalantly and dispassionately that I had cataract, but that my conditions were such that I would be given an appointment a year later for further monitoring, based on current Hospital Authority procedures.

Su was not impressed with the situation. She demanded that I take more aggressive steps to improve my eyesight so that I can enjoy life more with her together. We consulted more people and friends, and the main stream advice all point to cataract surgeries. The intervening Christmas and New Year holidays were disincentives for operations, until about ten days ago when I suddenly decided to call up this ophthalmologist friend for an appointment, after the eye glass shop owner said disparagingly about my fast deteriorating cataract conditions. The rest is history: He worked on my left eye yesterday and removed the bandages this morning. We were discussing the possibility of working on the right eye next week, but then decided to be on the more cautious side and waiting a bit longer.

Su has often said that I am not exactly a demanding person in the sense that I would take whatever life presents. On the other hand, I think it is a virtue to take life as it is. But we are not discussing this today. In the past few weeks, she would jokingly ask me whether I could see some signs or Chinese characters 30 meters ahead. Yesterday, for example, she asked me while waiting at the clinic what I made out on the TV and the certificates on the wall. Well, as soon as the nurse removed the bandages from my left eye this morning, I suddenly found that the world had become so much colourful. I could see some words and characters in smaller prints; and I could make out more shades of colour and contours. It was unbelievable. If the changes are so significant and considerable after one eye, what can I expect after I have had the second?

How long have I been accepting this less than perfect condition? Why have I allowed this to happen? Was it a virtue or some defect in character? I would think about this tonight in my sleep and I thank God for all that is happening. I hope to talk to you again soon.

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