Pilots and cataracts

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Head in the clouds

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Well, it's done. Light adjustable lens implant in the right and we had to Lasik the left to match. So far so good, it's only day three after the operation and I can see 20/20 with the right already and it is capable of being fine tuned in a couple of weeks. Having lots of lenses in my (optical) shop I played around with some and got to 20/15. For me this is freaky! This is after being blind-as-a-bat myopic my whole life.(20/200 and worse, uncorrected) I'll need a variety of glasses for different tasks but I can now go swim in the ocean and find my way back to land! And land airplanes without following the ILS all the way down....

BTW, anyone who needs this done and has no insurance or simply wants to go to a first class clinic, I have no hesitation to do it again at this place I went to in Mexico. Very impressed with the whole set-up. It's called Codet Vision Institute.

Hopefully I'll get my medical back in a month or so and a Class 2 with a SODA is now on the cards for me. Got to love technology.
Great news PTA!
 

Tony

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Springfield IL
It's a fair way from IL to Tijuana, but getting a top quality standard lens implanted is between 1,700 to 2,200 per eye, all inclusive. If you can afford to fly at all, you ought to be able to get it done.
Not everyone flying has unlimited funds. With some it takes just about everything they have to fly. I fall into that catagory. So should I stop flying. To some they say yes. If your bank account does not have xxxxx amount in it just stay out of thier sky.
Now if anyone is watching what is happening with our goverment then everyone should know just those that have get, those with out, are out. If you are ill and do not have much our goverment would perfer you just die and get off thier debt wagon.
I had a little boy of 3. He was very ill. The family no money. He needed his splien removed so he could at least live until teenage years. The doctors would not do this for it was a waste to do this on someone who was going to die anyway. He died 2 months after his 6th birthday.
I have a bone disease. Now I have Cateracts in my eyes. I am on borrowed time. If I use this same logic that the doctors used its not a wise move for me to waste every penny I and my wife have to fix my eye's. Now if we lived in another country all this would be different. But we live here in America.


Tony

Tony
 

PTAirco

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Sorry to hear about your situation. But when it comes to flying you don't have a choice - you need to see to fly. I have not flown since last November, miss it a lot, but this is obviously a priority and until it gets paid off, I am grounded.

I only brought up this thread because if we fly long enough, almost all of us here will have to go through this at some point. I could easily stray off-topic here and get into a long rant about the healthcare system in this country, but this isn't the place for it. I am only glad that there was an alternative available to me and believe me, it will take me a long time to pay for this too, even at roughly half the US cost. I just don't have a choice if I want to fly. I met several US citizens down there who were in the same boat; one had worked for IBM for 30 years and when he retired they offered to keep his health insurance going for him - at $1,700 per month...
 

Autodidact

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Well, it's done.
PT, I think this is great. I know what you mean about the freakyness of really good vision; I recently got glasses and I'm not sure that I ever was able to see so well.
 

PTAirco

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My brother got specs for the first time when he was 50 and spent the next week walking around in a daze saying things like "do you know, trees have got individual leaves on them..."
I'm doing that right now! Every so often I look out the window and say the same thing to myself.
Went to the airport yesterday just to spot airplanes and see how well I can pick up traffic and it's amazing. Night vision is something else. Overall it has improved a lot but the Lasik does leave a mild halo around lights, no big deal, but it's there. My right eye does get an annoying horizontal starburst from bright lights such as headlights. I read it can be caused by a temporary wrinkle in the capsular bag. I hope it's temporary; it's not debilitating, just annoying, but I got far worse side effect with contact lenses. And it's only day 4 so far.

And as great as my vision is right now, it will get better after the final adjustment of this lens by a wavefront directed UV beam which reshapes the lens. That will be in a week or so. Can't wait to get into the air after that - wonder if my landings will improve....
 

Topaz

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I'm doing that right now! Every so often I look out the window and say the same thing to myself.
Went to the airport yesterday just to spot airplanes and see how well I can pick up traffic and it's amazing. Night vision is something else. Overall it has improved a lot but the Lasik does leave a mild halo around lights, no big deal, but it's there. My right eye does get an annoying horizontal starburst from bright lights such as headlights. I read it can be caused by a temporary wrinkle in the capsular bag. I hope it's temporary; it's not debilitating, just annoying, but I got far worse side effect with contact lenses. And it's only day 4 so far....
Both of my friends who had corrective surgery said that they had minor halo-ing at first, but that it faded with time. You'll probably be the same. Apparently the bad-old-days of permanent strong halos are long gone.
 

bmcj

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Great news PT! Glad that worked out well. Maybe one of these days I'll be brave enough to get some corrective vision work.

As for landings getting better, that has never been a function of good vision... it's a function of how many people are out there to witness the landing! :gig:

Bruce :)
 

greenbomb

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Cherokee village Ar
So your friend is a AG pilot flying for 30 years . . moved down to sport pilot for $$ reasons flys for ten years . Gets Cataract surgery to improve life and flying . Decides he want to get a 172 . Goes to the AME and tells about your Cataract surgery and presto the FAA has to make a decision if he flys or not. EVEN though he has been flying Blind and now has 20 /20 . So now he is waiting at the mail box for the powers to tell you if you can or can not see. ALL THIS because he were a law abinding citizen and told the TRUTH which after so many months / years he could have easily forgotten about it . slip of mind. . Hope to update you with positive results . But Its A DON"T SEE DON"T TELL thing when it comes to Gov programs
 

fmartin_gila

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Mandurriao, Iloilo City, Philippines
Wow, opened an old thread but one which interests us all. My story - I had to start wearing glasses at age 13 because of nearsightedness. Every few years I had to get slightly stronger prescription. At age 43, had to start wearing Bifocals, recommended by AME. Still changing prescription every few years. About 10 years ago, the people I had been seeing for several years said I was starting to get Cataracts & recommended I take care of it immediately. I went to another Eye Clinic for second opinion and they stated that they saw no evidence of Cataract and only needed a different prescription so I followed through with that(never went back to the other people). About 6 years ago I started seeing better at near distances(reading, using computer, writing and such close work) without my glasses so started performing these tasks without glasses. Last year, I got new lenses, Single vision and less powerful than the last prescription. My vision does seem to be improving as time goes on and occasionally I will forget to wear my glasses outdoors only to realize I have forgotten when distant objects are not clear. I am now age 77 and back to single vision lenses which I wear for any longer distance viewing. Vision is so important to us not only as Pilots but otherwise too. Please get second opinion on any eyework and give it some very serious thought before doing something, especially any surgical matters.

greenbomb, Have to agree with you on the last sentence.

Fred
 
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PTAirco

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I forgot about this thread.

Four years later and my vision is great. 20/20 in the eye that had the cataract surgery. 20/15 if I wear glasses to correct the last smidgen. I do need reading glasses, but I needed bifocals before all this. One annoying factor: because this is a very unique lens, that can be adjusted in power after it's implanted, my green color receptors in the center of my vision have gotten a little messed up by the UV beam that alters the lens. Some shades of green look very grey-ish now. Went back for some tests and nobody really knows why, this lens has been put into thousands of people and I seem to be the only one who had this problem. I can still pass every color vision test, it's not a problem, but the greyness is a little disappointing. However going from blind as a bat to 20/20 without glasses trumps all that.
 

Pops

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I'm 76 years old and just got a lens transplant in my left eye. Been nearsighted since I started wearing glasses at 17 years old. That broke my heart because at that time you had to have 20/20 uncorrected vision to fly for the military or airlines. Now with my left eye I can see a piss-ant on a tree limb a 1/2 mile away :) Doc says I may or my not have to use reading glasses for close up, but I can still see good in to about 16" now with my left eye. Will be getting the right eye done in a couple of weeks. At this time it's hard while walking, if I look down my vision is going back and forth between each far different eye and I can get motion sickness. Not good. I have a bad leg with bone graph and pins so I need to watch where I put my left foot while walking. I got caught out driving after dark the other night and the glare was so bad in my right eye I had to get my daughter to drive me home. Can't wait to get the other eye done. I grounded myself in flying several months ago when when my left eye got bad very quickly. Seeing with my new lens in my left eye, the colors are so much brighter I would have never believed the difference. Now for the right eye.
 

bmcj

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I hate headlight glare at night. I find that wearing a pair of sunglasses (not too dark) takes care of that problem but still allows you to see everything else.
 

MikePousson

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Ontario on the bay
I had both eyes done in 2003. What a difference. Only negative was glare and star bursts. I limit myself to driving on interstates after dark so as oncoming traffic is on the other side of the medium. Since then, lots of stuff happened, vision related.
 

bmcj

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I had both eyes done in 2003. What a difference. Only negative was glare and star bursts. I limit myself to driving on interstates after dark so as oncoming traffic is on the other side of the medium. Since then, lots of stuff happened, vision related.
Cataract or LASIK?

Try the sunglasses.
 

Swampyankee

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I was told by one eye doctor that they treat cataracts by replacing the bad lens with a good donor human lens. The end result is perfect vision and focusability even if you did not have it before.
Not according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (IOL Implants: Lens Replacement and Cataract Surgery - American Academy of Ophthalmology). As an aside -- I saw this below -- most insurances will cover IOLs in cataract surgery. If my health insurance company told me to go abroad, I'd find a different insurance company.
 
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