Douglas Free is clear about the fact that "we have only got two eyes, and it is important to invest in them and take care of them as best as we can". Hence, this patient from London, though living in France, did not hesitate to trust the IMO, when it came to treating his cataracts. He was willing to find the best solution for the vision problem he endured, and he feels fortunate that an ophthalmologist friend recommended him to come to the Institute, where he found what he was looking for: cutting-edge technology and professionals who focused on his vision.
His first impression when arriving at the IMO was that of "being part of a James Bond movie", due to its modern facilities, which are equipped with the most advanced technology and gave him the assurance of visiting a state-of-the art centre upon entering. This initial impression was confirmed throughout his stay at the clinic: "The team effort I appreciated from the whole staff, as there was always someone willing to reach out to you, gave me a lot of confidence."
As a result, Douglas describes his cataract surgery as a "fascinating" experience. He claims that he went into "relax mode" and did not feel any discomfort or pain, while the surgery was being performed under topical anaesthesia, although he was aware at all times of the surgical techniques being accurately performed by the surgeon. "When I left the operating room, my vision was still cloudy", he acknowledges, "but the next morning the feeling was extraordinary." He experienced this twice, first after surgery on the right eye and then on the left eye, whereas in both cases he noticed the same positive evolution following the said surgery. Thus, after 24 hours – and even more so 48 hours later – he gradually gained clarity.
The cataract haze fades
According to Dr José Luis Güell, the specialist who operated on Douglas, "his visual quality has greatly improved after surgery, since he suffered from a cortical cataract that evolves very slowly. Although at first one adapts to it, the opacification of the crystalline lens ends up being severe". Moreover, as it is a type of cataract that occurs at an earlier age than the typical nuclear cataract (the most common one, which is linked to aging), it had an important impact on the patient’s daily activities, who is also professionally engaged in art.
According to Douglas, this prevented him from focusing on what he was doing, and it was precisely during his Spanish classes where the difficulty to see clearly became more obvious – especially with his right eye, where the pathology had reached a more advanced stage. He stressed that it was like being trapped in a constant "haze", which he could not get rid of, even when using the proper optical correction.
Therefore, the cataract surgery was a relief for him, as it not only prevented him from having to use glasses or contact lenses again (by replacing the opaque crystalline lens with an intraocular lens), but also afforded him a more intense and vivid perception of reality. At present, Douglas enjoys the process of getting used to seeing the world in this new way, "in HD definition", he concludes.