THE OPHTHALMIC JOURNALA friend asked me to write about him in this month’s editorial.

He’s your regular Australian male. He lives at home with his wife and his daughter. He has other children and young grandchildren, as well as an elderly father, all of whom he regularly visits.

He works at a high level in information technology with a major corporate – ajob that sees him communicating with programmers via desktop, laptop and mobile phone day and night, whether he’s at his desk, at the pub or in the park.

He’s just had cataract surgery. Two eyes in one week, soon after chopping the tops of three fingers off with a circular saw while pursuing his after-hours passion, crafting furniture.

He is in his early 70s and his life is full to overflowing.

The day after my friend’s cataract surgery, he posted a message to our friendship group on WhatsApp:

“Had my second cataract surgery yesterday… brilliant… no more glasses or contact lenses… recovery still happening but results are fantastic. If you’re going to have a medical condition that can be fixed by surgery, choose cataracts.”

Two weeks later I saw him, and his exhilaration was unabated. He is in awe of this procedure which has given him incredibly sharp unaided vision at near, intermediate and far, with “absolutely no pain”.

My friend’s response reminded me of the stories I’d just heard Ray Martin recount at The Fred Hollows Foundation 30th anniversary celebration at Sydney Town Hall – stories of workers in Vietnam who had regained independence having received cataract surgery. His story also reminded me of the people I saw post-cataract surgery when I travelled to Cambodia with Cambodia Vision. There was one wizened old man who I will never forget. When the doctors were giving him instructions for post-op care, they realised he couldn’t hear. I rushed off, picked up a pair of basic hearing aids from the audiologists and fitted them. That man, who came in blind and deaf, walked out of the Kratie Referral Hospital with sight and sound.

In Australia we are fortunate, in most cases, to have early access to treatments and surgeries. But each of these stories reminds us that restoring senses has the most profound effect, regardless of who we are, where we are, the life we live, or the complexity of the procedure. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but we should never take what we have for granted.

Enjoy this issue .
MELANIE KELL EDITORIn the spirit of reconciliation, mivision acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. As a bi-national publication, we acknowledge Māori as tangata whenua and Treaty of Waitangi partners in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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