1. chris malcolm

    chris malcolm

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    I've recently had the lenses in my aged cataract-fogged eyes replaced by shiny new plastic lenses courtesy of the NHS. They also took the opportunity to correct nearly all of my considerably short sight. So I can actually now see the number on an approaching bus without needing to wear any specs at all. That's better vision than I've had for the last seventy years! And with my new distance specs on I can see the world so startlingly clearly that I'm still going out for walks and just strolling around rather slowly looking amazed at everything, astonished by the crisp detail of it all.

    But there's still sufficient other age-related eye degradation of other kinds that I will never be able to see things again with quite the clarity that my youthful eyes once possessed. As indeed I'm no longer able to hear the conversations of bats in the evening. Or what anyone at all is saying in a very noisy crowded pub. So it's not surprising that when I come home after a walk with the camera that I find interesting unexpected things in my photographs that I never saw at the time. That's one of the reasons I nearly always carry a camera with me when I go out.

    A week ago I took a visiting friend for a stroll around Cramond Island in the Firth of Forth, a tidal island that you can walk to when the tide is low. The sky was heavily overcast and the light was pretty dim so I didn't expect much of photographic interest, but as usual took my camera along. After walking the mile long causeway to the island I climbed up into the ruins of the WW2 gun and searchlight emplacement to get a view back.

    DSC07146TPX.jpg

    Alongside the straight causeway built out over the Drum Sands are the "dragon's teeth", a line of slowly rotting reinforced concrete supports which used to hold reinforced concrete planks between them, in order to stop enemy submarines making their way up towards the naval ship building yards at Rosyth. That's where Britain's second aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales, is now being finished. It's so big under the water that it will only be able to leave the Rosyth dockyard on an unusually high tide. And it's so big over the water that it will only be able to get under the Forth Rail Bridge out to sea at an unusually low tide. That's a photographic opportunity I'm looking forward to!

    Over the to left, way out in the middle of the shallow waters of the low tide, I could see what might be a small figure. Through the camera's long zoom I could see that it was indeed a person paddling through the water carrying something. Just in case a later examination in the computer would show me what he was up to I took a photograph at 200mm.

    DSC07147_DxOPhLTPX.jpg
    Back home in front of the computer I was able to see that he was carrying his shoes. So far so uninteresting. But there was something written on the back of his T-shirt. You'll be able to read it in this crop.

    DSC07147_DxOPhLCRTPX.jpg

    Wow! It's very hard to shake off the conviction that that was a message to me from the gods! After all, who else could have seen that? Only someone with binoculars or a camera with a long zoom. And without my new plastic eyes I probably wouldn't have been able to see that there was anyone there at all to point the camera's long lens at.
     
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  2. TheBigYin

    TheBigYin Staff Member

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    sorry, I could barely read the last paragraph... think i've got something in MY eye, as it seems to be watering rather badly...

    Actually, it's because your experience reminded me of my Mother who had the implant cataract op done. She was petrified about it, didn't want to go for it, and was miserable the whole day we were at the special eye clinic that was run to reduce the waiting lists...

    Then 48 hours after the op, she had to go in for her follow-up check - I was sat in the room with her when they removed the eye-protector and gauze pad and she just sat there open mouthed...

    Doc asked her if she could see the eye chart at the other end of the room... Yep. Can you read some of it for me. Yep.

    Damned if she didn't read the bottom line of the chart. With just the eye that'd been fixed. I'm assuming she got it right (I couldn't read the bottom line myself without my glasses on, and I'd left them in the car) because the Doctor was beaming from ear to ear. Then my mother began to cry... "Ive had to wear glasses since I was 14... even with the glasses I couldn't see this well... Doctor, you're amazing... just one thing... When Can I get the other one done ??"



    Chris... Words cannot convey how happy I am for you at this moment. As photographers, we depend on our sight (and our vision...) for more than just our day-to-day lives. Not sure which of the Pantheon to thank for this - but the best way to repay this wonderful thing is to never take it for granted... Long may you enjoy your vision.
     
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  3. jakeblu

    jakeblu

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    @chris malcolm what a lovely story and a thoroughly enjoyable read
     
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  4. Lindsay56

    Lindsay56

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    Chris, and Mark, my eyes started to water too, at those stories. I'm so pleased for you Chris, a new lease of life in a way, and for your happy memory Mark.
    My eyes are getting a bit knackered now - age 62 but over 35 years of IT screen work, a lot of it in the bad old days of green/black flickering displays - so I can appreciate the impact of clear(er) sight.
     
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  5. Cagey75

    Cagey75

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    Nice read that :) Great to read something so positive, love the end too, a sign! I'm not religious but I do think that there is something watching over us out there, trying to guide us, though we tend to stray
     
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  6. seaodyssey

    seaodyssey

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    Nice write up, super ending and follow on story byTheBigYin.

    I hope you plastic eyes last a lot longer than my plastic glasses that cost over £600 each time.
     
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  7. DB72

    DB72

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    Interesting story and comments as I have possessed (although not always worn) glasses since I was 4 years old (I'm now 46) and it has affected many areas of my life. If I were to have corrective surgery I believe I would need the intraocular lenses too, which put me right off when I enquired about 15 years ago but perhaps I was a bit hasty.
     
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  8. woof woof

    woof woof

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    A lovely read, thank you for sharing :D

    I wear glasses most of the time now but with them I have 20/20 but even so there's often lots to see when zooming in to 100% and looking around a picture, it's something I do quite a bit :D
     
  9. Phil V

    Phil V

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    This^
     
  10. PaulButler

    PaulButler

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    Agreed, what a lovely story and enjoyable read, as was Mark's and his mum.
     
  11. chris malcolm

    chris malcolm

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    Thanks for all appreciative comments! There was more interest in the cataract and lens replacement surgery than I expected, so I thought I'd give some more details. It sounds scary, very scary when you discover that they do it under local anaesthetic, which presumably means you'll see the knife approaching!!

    But you don't. All I saw was a vague very blurred green background in which I could discern nothing recognisable. Much less scary once it starts, or indeed uncomfortable, than the mildest of dental work.

    An interesting optical effect of the surgery is that I now see much more blue than before. UV lens filters that used to look almost untinted, just a suspicion of yellow in optimum lighting, now look quite definitely yellow. I have a prismatic thing in my sunny kitchen window which casts rainbow prismatic streaks on the walls when the sun hits it. I did my best to photograph one years ago.

    [​IMG]The spectrum -- sunlight refracted through a glass prism by Chris Malcolm, on Flickr

    I noted at the time that my eyes couldn't see quite all the blue, violet, and magenta, at the blue end of the spectrum that the camera (with suitably exaggerated colour processing) was picking up. My visual blue end was definitely shorter than the camera's. Then. Now it seems to be a bit longer! People with new plastic eye lenses and access to optical labs have suggested that they can in fact see a bit into the normally invisible near UV. Of course that may depend on the specific kind of lens the surgeons use. I rather like my improved colour discrimination. Of course as the natural lens in my eye gradually yellowed with age (and UV exposure) I had gradually been losing colour discrimination over the decades, and perhaps most (perhaps all) of my new extended blues were simply due to removal of that aged yellow cast.

    There is one unusual visual talent which I'm sorry to have lost. I used to have such extremely short sight that I could see more by holding things close to my eyes than most people could see even with a magnifying glass. I could thread needles very easily by eye. I could easily read the highly photo-reduced Compact Oxford English Dictionary without a magnifying glass. I could see the tiny marks of wear on worn metal parts and read the history of what had gone wrong. I called my short sight "tool-maker's eyes".

    After the first eye was done I had one eye restored to near normal vision, but the other still very short sighted. With no specs on my short sighted eye added more confusion than clarity to my half corrected vision. I had assumed that all I'd have to do would be to remove the single now unnecessary lens from my spectacles and both eyes would see clearly. They did, but there was such disparity in image sizes that my brain could couldn't lock the two images together. My eyes swam about, struggling, giving me unstable double vision which was unnerving if I was standing still, and made walking a hazardously dizzying experience.

    I remembered enough school optics to suspect that contact lenses wouldn't have this image size disparity problem. My optician confirmed this. So I used contact lenses for the few months that my eyes were different. The vision with contact lenses was a bit better than with glasses, but I still needed glasses for computer and reading, didn't like the struggle of taking them out, and liked the degree of protection from wind, dust, and twiggery of specs, so I decided not to continue with contact lenses once I'd had both eyes fixed.

    Now that surgery has restored my vision to near normality, and age has fixed my focus, I need reading glasses to read, and a magnifying glass with which I struggle to see the tiny details I used to see so easily. I now struggle to read the tiny print on food labels they hope is too small for us to be able to read easily. But I no longer need glasses to be able to recognise friends across the street. With specs I can recognise friends 50 yards away.

    And of course on nudist beaches I'll no longer risk being suspected of being a pervert because I will no longer have to go into the water to swim wearing my spectacles. Some people thought that's because I wanted to ogle the naked women. It was because if I came out of the water without spectacles I'd never be able to find my friends and family again in the crowds of very blurred naked people.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  12. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    Glad you've got your eyes sorted out and are benefitting from your new-found improved vision, Chris. I've been lucky enough to enjoy good eyesight until fairly recently when I've started to need reading glasses for small print, such as the labels on food packaging that you mentioned, particularly if the light isn't good.

    Mark's story about the eye test chart made me smile though, not only because of his Mum's restored sight, but because it reminded me of my school days....

    A week or so before we were due our school medical examination I had the misfortune to trip over and cut my knee, so was sent to the school nurse. While I was waiting to be seen I was told to sit on the couch, which was situated next to the eye test chart on the wall. As I was bored while waiting I had a good look at the chart, including the maker's name that was in tiny print at the bottom. Two weeks later I was called in for my medical and asked to read the eye chart, which I rattled through quickly using my right eye, then, when instructed, with equal speed with my left eye, hesitating momentarily before reciting the maker's name at the bottom of the chart!

    The school nurse looked at me rather sternly and said "I hope you're joking". I just shrugged and smiled! :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  13. Kell

    Kell

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    That's a great story - and I love the ending with the T-shirt.
     
  14. sands

    sands

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    That is a very touching story. I can relate to it. In the first five years of my retirement I developed slow moving cataracts, too. After five years the doctors finally gave the o.k. to have them removed. Wow! What a huge difference it made compared to what I had gotten used to in the previous five years. I felt like a kid again. But, then on after a few years age related issues cropped up again. And, once again I am having to devise new ways to shoot. Looking through the viewfinder is ever more a strain. So, I've developed a modified hip shot technique that I had to spend much practice at to get it right. But, by this unusual technique I am continuing to enjoy doing my street and street portrait photography as much as after my cataracts were removed. As for editing the precision adjustments I just can't managed any longer. So, I got a better camera which only requires basic adjustments in post. Where there is a will, there is a way for sure. Good shooting.
     

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