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Patient experience after cataract surgery in Mexico

Read my previous post on the post-operations preps, operation time, and prices in Clinica de Vision in Playa del Carmen

Having a cataract procedure done in Playa del Carmen

I could no longer ignore it, the optometrist in the Philippines already mentioned a cataract, but things worsened quicker than ...

After the Operation

I went home in a taxi. I ride public transport in Mexico and I did not want to sit in one of the Playa busses, they are very uncomfortable not to speak about hygiene, a thing the doctor kept pressing on how important it was to stay away from any risk of infection.

Price of the taxi: 50 pesos, officially according to the Taxi drivers distance and price calculation app it is 45 pesos, but hey, what’s in 5 pesos after spending so much money on an eye, right? We paid him a good tip anyway. He was a happy taxi driver when he drove off.

I was tired and excited. And still a bit groggy. So I decided to go to bed and rest a bit. I had to remove the eye patch after 4 hours and start the 4 hours regime of adding antibiotic drops to my eye.
The doctor told me not to expect too much when I removed the patch, because of some air bubbles the left in the eye to stimulate healing from the inside.

cataract surgery in Playa del Carmen

But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I removed the patch

My iris was in the right upper corner of my eye, my eye looked crooked and so did my world. Distant, blurry, totally out of shape. It looked like someone tilted the world to the left. It made me disoriented and dizzy and extremely worried about what went wrong. I could not see the depth. I walked into the bathroom door and strumbled around like a blind rat. So I closed the eye and worked from the not-operated eye.
I was shocked. How could this be good??

After a few hours

I put on the dark glasses and lay down on the bed. Trying not to worry too much, after all, I trusted the doctor, right?  He came highly recommended. When the time for my second drop came, 4 hours later my sight had improved so much, the world was not tilted anymore and my eyeball was almost back in its natural position. And I could see things I had never ever seen before without glasses. Still, my right eye tends to take over the vision since that is my primary eye. So my vision is distorted, and I see double a lot. Wondering where that yellow stain on my dress comes from, only to realize that that is how I saw the world before the new lens was implanted and my dress is not beige and black but it’s white and black.

The next morning, day 1 after surgery

My brain is picking up the new signals pretty fast and after a tiring night with a wake-up call every 4 hours to wash my hands and administer a drop of antibiotics in my eye I can see so much and my left eye seems to be in control. I am ready for my first check-up.

Going outside, alone, for the first time is a bit uneasy. In your house, with the confidence of familiar surroundings and the limited view is different than being outside where the world stretched out before you with all new impressions while one eye is not catching up. Walking is a bit of a strain I notice. as is focussing. And I felt weird, it was a cloudy day and here I was, wearing super dark black protective glasses.

I managed to recognize and stop a taxi and I made it in time to the Clinica de Vision in Playa del Carmen. Actually, I am way too early. There is a long line of patients waiting, all wearing dark glasses like me and all accompanied by lots of family members. It makes it busy, chaotic, and stuffy inside. I get a number, number 13, we are all here on 1 appointment. But like the day before I get the royal treatment and am allowed to go first. Again I do not ask. The Mexicans have no sense of privacy and are curious and nosy as hell and I feel so out of place, very white, very different and very alone and not willing to share the amount I have paid, the lens I received, and the lack of vision I had before. It is none of their business.

cataract surgery experience

It must be a happy day for a doctor to see so many patients he has healed in one afternoon

When I leave the intense chit-chatting group of people for the first eye exam I relax in the quiet examination room. I sigh. I do not know how they can be so energetic, I feel drained. Later, when I return I see all people wearing dark glasses sitting quietly, a bit weary and withdrawn. So I guess they also feel that same tired feeling. Although it is considered a minor procedure, it is still a surgery you need to recover from.

I am called to the doctor’s office. he seems excited about the result, I tell him that I am also. That I realized riding the highway in the taxi how much of a danger I was in the Philippines not being able to see all that I can see now.
He assures me that all is well, that my sight will even get better as days pass for it takes time, and that my right eye soon will settle for second place as my brains keep processing the better view from the left eye.

I see him again in 3 weeks and my next operation is scheduled for next month.

Day 2 after cataract surgery

I wake up way too early. The day before I was exhausted, my eye felt tired and bruised and I decided to sleep early, also because I did not have to wake up every 4 hours for that drop, like the first night. During the next 2 weeks, I have to use the eye drops every 4 hours during the day.

But waking up with a dry and irritated eye I decide to do one extra drop, at 5 am. That won’t hurt. My eye seems grateful. it is bloodshot and red, and under my eye is a blue reddish bruise visible probably from the injection. It still feels sore when I move it, but less than before. And I seem to be able to read much better, especially on the computer screen. But outside as I walk to my favorite restaurant on Avenida 30, I find my vision changing with every blink. It seems like the first day of wonder and awe has gone. I do not feel great today. I am tired. Maybe I have overdone it a bit the other day. So I eat my breakfast, I visit the ATM because I have to pay my rent today and I decide to go home. It is weird, I feel restless, excited, and exhausted at the same time. I am happy though that it is cool and cloudy. The eye is very sensitive to light.

I made a video of my second cataract surgery, showing you up to 48 hours after surgery, and explaining what was different the second time.

I never realized how bad my vision was until I got this new lens

Overall I can’t wait to get the second eye done and see the full extent of the improvement. I do realize that I have been a clumsy person participating in traffic not seeing half of what I see now. And although my cataract was not that full-grown, it limited my vision more than an eye doctor could have predicted. They put you on a scale, and advise you from there. But in everyday life, you realize how much vision you’d already lost after you get it back.

Blinking from my left to right eye I see the world either in bright white light or a bit sepia in a soft tone. And that difference is huge to me. As is my sight, watching the world without glasses for the first time since I was 4.

* Disclaimer: This is my experience, this is not a medical report. This article and the previous one about cataract surgery at Clinica de Vision in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, are based on a diagnosis and treatment plan made by the clinic doctor, especially for me. This is no guarantee that your diagnosis will be the same, cost the same, or has the same outcome. Or that your recovery will be the same as mine.