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By Anonymous February 18, 2018 - 4:07pm
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Starburst – fireworks after cataract surgery
History: In her 70s my mother experienced ‘vision loss’. New glasses. Cataract surgery- each eye separately. Multiple visits to Yale New Haven Hospital's eye specialists and even the UCONN school of medicine specialists studied my Mom for nearly five years and found 'nothing wrong' with her eyes. She “just couldn't see.” Not blind but no amount of magnifying glasses or even sitting 10 feet away from a 60" television helped. She saw images and colors but could not identify the characters or what they were doing. It broke her heart to not be able to read even her morning newspaper.

More History: Around 2011, while at my Mom’s house in Connecticut, I had an incident with bright blue lightning bolt flashes - inside my head - with pain that woke me up. I saw the pain. I was in bed and watched the clock, second and third lightning bolt strikes were 15 minutes apart. That was when I asked my brother to drive me to the Emergency Room. I spent 12 hours in the Emergency Rooms of Yale New Haven Hospital before I got that diagnosis of "Temporal Artritis" (the way the doctor wrote it) and I was put on 20 grams of Prednisone. If I had not been in Connecticut at the time I would not have gotten the correct diagnosis and, I was told, I “would have gone blind and it would not have been curable.”
Naturally, these things impacted my own decisions when I started developing vision problems in the fall of 2014. I was 74; approximately the age my Mom's problems had started. I saw my doctor for new glasses. The vision problems escalated so I was sent for cataract surgery. The Cataract surgeon diagnosed a Retina problem. The Retinologist said the retina was wrinkled and in early 2015 I had Retinal surgery. I waited until the retinologist 'cleared' me a year later to proceed with the cataract surgery. Each step of the way I gave the doctors my family history of visual problems.
I had cataract surgery over a year ago. Because of my family history, and the fact I have amblyopia, I opted for a lens implant that I had been told by friends would be a long-term cure. My Cataract surgeon did not discuss the pros and cons. She was happy with my $2,400 choice, she had me sign a medical release form, but did not submit the request for approval to Medicare or my medical insurance company.
Immediately after the surgery I had "4th of July Fireworks with oncoming traffic headlights (aka Starbursts) " blinding me at night; I live 30 miles away from town. The surgery and recovery took longer than expected and it was almost dark when I got outside. Halogen headlights are horrific and rainy nights are downright scary. (Monsoon rains are worse.) I do not have any problems after being dialated and driving in daylight hours I generally shop for an hour before getting in the car, and did not anticipate the after dark problem.
Since the surgery, when I drive at night I have to wait for a car that I can follow (aka a pace car), to get me where I need to be. Not driving at night is not an option. What, if anything, can be done to correct this problem? My cataract person just suggested I should "do the other eye" ????
Sandra Makuaole [email protected]

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Hello. Thank you for posting.

The term dysphotopsia is used to describe a variety of visual symptoms that result from light reflecting off the intraocular lens (IOL) onto the retina. Dysphotopsias are generally divided into two categories: positive and negative. Positive visual changes involve symptoms of bright artifacts, while negative dysphotopsias are perceived as shadows or dark areas in the visual field. Patients may report glare, starbursts, halos or shadows when describing their visual symptoms.

We cannot advise you on surgery. This is something you need to discuss with an eye physician. If you don't feel comfortable with your current doctor and/or way the surgery was handled, you have the option to find another specialist. I can certainly understand your concerns on this matter.

Keep us updated.


February 18, 2018 - 5:06pm
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