by John

Or something like that…

Last year, when climbing out of the gorge of the Zambesi River, Zimbabwe, I developed an enlarging black spot in my right eye. The black spot progressively enlarged, and I decided that I had contracted one of those African worms which eats its way into the human central nervous system.  So of course I ignored it, and flew home to Oz.

Over the next few days, the black spot became bigger, blocking out about 1/3 of the vision in my right eye.  So I thought, this is not normal, and I consulted an eye doctor.

One hour later I was having an emergency operation for a detached retina.

The eye doctor sucked the fluid out of my eye, filled it with gas, and lasered the retina back to where it should be.  All under local anaesthetic.  A painless but weird experience.  I was totally blind in my right eye for 2 weeks, then miraculously, my sight returned.   Gradually, from the top down, as the eye refilled with fluid.  It was really odd seeing a water level upside down.   Like seeing the sea above the sky.

At least my left eye was OK, but I really got to appreciate the value of binocular vision.  It really sucks when you pour yourself a nice red, only to miss the glass.   And machining is a challenge.

To cut a long story short, my sight was restored thanks to modern science and first world medicine, for which I am profoundly thankful.  Also to Drs Ben Clark,  Patrick Lockie, both expert and dedicated Australian eye doctors.

One year later, I have had another eye operation, this time to replace the right lens, because I had developed a rapidly deteriorating right cataract.  Again under local anaesthetic, again expertly performed, this time by Dr Mark Whiting.   My vision is a bit blurred, and I need new glasses, but must wait 4 weeks.  Meanwhile, I must not work (as a surgeon), and other activities are hit and miss.  Already I am having withdrawal symptoms from my workshop.   Maybe the electroplating would be OK, if I can persuade SWMBO to drive me to my workshop…..