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Old 15th May 2011, 07:06
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Qld. Aus.
Posts: 30

I have recently been diagnosed with cataracts (so thats why everything was a bit blurry) and am having the operation (both eyes) shortly.

I have searched PPRuNe and found a lot of useful information, but there did not appear to be any Australian input.

Has anyone with a Class 1 medical in Australia had cataracts removed ? Could you share your experience particularly with regard to regaining your medical and the time you were off work.

I have already talked to AvMed who require a DAME eyesight test and supporting documentation before reinstating the medical. The ophthamologist says two weeks recovery time, could I expect to do the DAME check then?

Thanks for any response.
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Old 15th May 2011, 07:28
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: All over
Posts: 625
Perhaps not the exact answer you're looking for but....
My Father (75) had cataracts removed from both eyes last year. He has not held a Class 1 for 15 years, however his eyesight is now better than b4 the op and he no longer wears glasses!!
For info, he had them done on separate occasions over a lengthy interval.
All the best!
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Old 15th May 2011, 10:27
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 768
I have had it done, both eyes, the recovery is almost instantaneos, colour comes back, white is no longer cream and you will need good sunnies, I use good quality Polaroids as the light does flood in to your eyes.

But no glasses now, whoo hoo, and girls definately look better.

Got my medical back in a week after opthamist Specialist Doctor from Lions Eye Institute signed me out.
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Old 16th May 2011, 13:45
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 90
G'Day SS,

As a general rule most ophthalmologists will only operate on one eye at a time , so usually a minimum of a week apart if both eyes need to be done.

Quite often the 'engineering ' of sight is so good these days that they can get you back to 6/6 or better unaided [20/20 in USA terms]...and for class1 you need no worse than 6/9 in either eye [the next line up], and 6/6 minimum with both eyes.

Sometimes you may even be able to pass the near requirement without glasses but this is a bit of a fluke.

If it turns out that you do need glasses to meet the distance requirement then the doctor's advice is usually wait four weeks , as the spectacle prescription is more likely to 'drift' off the mark , if they are ordered before this [as the tiny wound heals] and cost you more money prematurely for updated spectacles.

You may well be able to pass the Class1 two weeks later but I wouldn't bet my life on it...many do however I'm sure ...that's just luck.

Fortunately it's just about the safest operation you can have these days ,and it must be getting easier as a very high proportion of doctors these days are getting excellent results.

Ten years ago you had to be carefull to pick the right doctor as botched eyes were not uncommon.

Best of luck ....I am sure you will be amazed at how much better and safer your vision is especially in low light.



CPL , Optometrist, CASA Designated Aviation Eye Examiner.

PS I've just noticed your location , so PM me if you have any doubts about your proposed ophthalmologist...I probably am familiar with his work or I can find out.

Last edited by Flopt; 16th May 2011 at 14:04.
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Old 20th May 2011, 00:01
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Qld. Aus.
Posts: 30
Thanks very much for the answers everyone.

If I remember and am sufficiently motivated, I will put a few more posts up detailing my progress for those considering the procedure.

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Old 20th May 2011, 02:32
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 768
Just a little clariication, my eyes were done a month apart, the medico's will not do them simultaneously as there is a slight but everpresent chance of infection, it is a bugger during the transition with one good eye and one yet to be done, much engineering of one eye glasses to compensate.
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Old 17th Jul 2011, 00:17
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Qld. Aus.
Posts: 30
Well I had my first cataract operation, on my right eye, 4 weeks ago and after all my concerns it really turned out to be a non-event.

I turned up at the day hospital at 8.30 in the morning. Now ‘day hospital’ is a bit of a misnomer because they threw me out at 10.30 that morning. In that time I had sat in the waiting room for a while, done the admissions paperwork, paid some money and got taken to the preparation area. There I took my shirt off and put a gown on, had a sticker put on my forehead above the appropriate eye, had several eye drops, a visit from the anaesthetist and sat around for a bit more. I then got placed on a gurney, the anaesthetist returned and then I was in the recovery room.

You get told before the operation that you will be given a local anaesthetic and sedation and that you will be aware of some of what goes on during the operation. Well I have maybe 5 seconds memory of the first op and perhaps 15 seconds of the second but despite my concerns beforehand I had no worries at the time.

In that two hour period I believe the operation takes 10-15 minutes.
You leave the hospital with a clear plastic cover over your eye held on by a couple of strips of micropore. The cover comes off two hours later. So 4 hours after going into hospital you would not know that I had just had a life changing operation to my eye.

For the first day and a half my pupil was quite dilated and I had to wear sunglasses outside the house but after that the pupil returned to normal and while I now wear sunglasses more than I used to before the operation I can survive without them.

Both my eyes were in the same condition so for the week between operations I could cover my new eye and see what I had before and then cover the old eye and see what I now had. The first thing I noticed was that the flame on the gas stove was a brilliant blue not a pastel, I also found out the the colour of the inside walls of our house were not the colour I thought. Also the blue in the sky was just so much bluer! With the haze of the cataract removed everything in the distance is just so much clearer.

Before the operation I had pulled the RH lens out of my glasses but when I tried them on I found that I was better off not wearing any glasses at all. I imagine that would depend on the type of correction that you needed before the operation.

A week later I had the left eye done. Same story. I had the lens on the first eye set to infinity and it focuses at about 3 feet and further. The left eye was set just a bit closer and it focuses at about 2 feet and further. As my approach charts holder in the plane is about 2 feet away and everything else, instruments, radios, overhead panel are further away it works fine and during the day I do not need glasses at all. At night I am just using a pair of $10 reading (magnifying) glasses while I have a set of bifocals made.

About 10 days after the second operation I went back to the opthalmologist who checked it all out and gave me a letter to say that I was fit to return to flying. My Class 1 medical was due within the month so I just had my normal medical and gave the opthalmologist’s letter to my DAME and a couple of days later I was back at work.

3 weeks off and both cataracts removed.

To any pilot needing a cataract operation I would say, there is no downside and the positives are incredible.

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