MONDAY, Dec. 27, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Marilyn Norred has known for 30 years that she had cataracts in both eyes.
"They saw them back then and said, 'Someday they'll be growing, and you'll need surgery then,'" Norred, now 74 and living in Oklahoma City, recalled.
That time came this year. Norred had cataract surgery in both eyes in the spring -- the right eye on May 27 and the left eye on June 10.
Her vision, she said, had become increasingly blurry. Because she also has glaucoma, she sees her eye doctor every six months. On the latest visit, the doctor noticed that the cataracts had begun to get worse.
"She said, 'You'll let me know when you're ready for the surgery,' and I said, 'Well, I am,'" Norred recalled, with a chuckle. "When you can't read the scores from the football game on the TV, you know something's wrong."
She admitted being nervous leading up to the surgery. "I'm a retired registered nurse, but you still get nervous when it's you," she said. During the procedure, she would be awake, but numb. "The doctor said, 'You'll see lights and colors, but there's no feeling at all,'" Norred recounted. "They numb it up pretty good."
And that's what Norred recalls from the surgery: lights, colors and lots of water. "It was just flooded," she said. "I don't know what they did." She said the surgeries lasted about 15 to 20 minutes, and then she spent 20 minutes in recovery. She left both times already seeing through the eye that had been operated on.
"They do not put eye patches on anymore," Norred said. "They give you sunglasses to wear, and you have to wear an eye patch when you sleep [because] they don't want you to hit your eye."
She said her vision was blurry for a few hours but had begun to clear by the end of the day.
"Every day after that, it gets better and better and better," she said. "I was so amazed with the colors and the brightness of this world. I didn't know I was that bad off. Things just gradually deteriorated, and you don't realize your eyesight is dim until you get this wonderful gift."
Her advice to others with cataracts? Look forward to the surgery rather than being frightened by the prospect.
"Have it done," she said. "There's no problem. It's just a gift to have this eyesight back again. I know it's scary to have someone messing with your eyes. That was my problem. But it works."
A companion article on cataracts explains many of the myths surrounding the condition.