Sunday, May 14, 2017

Eye Surgery

Artist Linda Sarasino had cateracts. Surgery was arranged for each of her eyes on separate days. Since the surgery would leave one eye with a highly dilated pupil, she needed to have someone take her to the surgery and get her home safely. I volunteered to drive. In the waiting room Linda had to fill out legal forms that pointed out every possible thing that could go wrong with the surgery with results such as blindness and death. She signed away her life and we waited. There were the usual doctors office golf and lifestyle magazine, but I decided to sketch.

Finally she was called back to the surgery room and I waited alone. She left behind her bag glasses and jacket. Time moved slowly. Surgery would involve inserting a corrective lens inside her cornea to correct her vision. She had to use eye drops 4 times a day for two days leading up to the surgery. The procedure itself would take just 15 minutes and she would be given anesthesia. The anesthesia can cause amnesia which means many people do not remember the procedure. She has had a bad reaction to the drug that causes the amnesia so they had to reduce the amount given to her. She wasn't knocked out and she was able to see the knife cut into her eye and the lens inserted. A bright light distorted and gave her the impression that she was experiencing an LSD trip.

This is a procedure done every day and considered quite routine. But it isn't routine for the person having it done. I sat waiting for well over 15 minutes and the legal forms had my mind wandering to worst case scenarios. When I was called back, Linda was in a wheel chair. A plastic mesh eye patch was over the affected eye. Being transparent if kept her from looking like a pirate. She was wheeled to the back door and then we walked to my ca in the parking lot.

That night, I asked her to go outside to look at the sunset overlooking a golf course. She covered her eye that had the surgery and looked at the sunset and then covered that eye to look through the new lens. She started to cry. She had never see the colors so vibrant and pure. The cataract caused everything to have a yellowish dull cast. She pointed to some subtle wisps of pink clouds  on the northern horizon. I couldn't see the same pink. Her vision was now better than my own. as the sky darkened, I took a picture of her with her arms outstretched looking like Julie Andrews on a mountain top. As an artist sight means everything, and she had been given the gift of being able to see the world in a brand new way.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


MiataGrrl said...

I always enjoy your sketches and blog! Just wanted to point out that glaucoma is a very different disease than cataracts. The procedure you describe (and her reaction, the difference in the colors, etc) sounds like cataracts.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, moving post.

Douglas Garbe said...