The Cataract Chronicles: I’ll Be Seeing Me

Author Barbara Falconer Newhall takes a photo of herself without glasses before cataract surgery to see what she'll look like. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The no-glasses me. I’ll need a make-over. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

One of the perks of having lots of years under your belt is that one fine day you get to have your cataracts done. Which means, if you’re seriously nearsighted like me, you get treated to a pair of brand new, precision-made, bespoke, intraocular lenses — and then you see yourself in the mirror for the first time since fifth grade.

I’m a minus five or six myopic, really nearsighted, and I haven’t seen my actual face since I was ten. I’ve been wearing glasses every day, all day for my entire school-aged, teenaged, middle-aged life.

Glasses off, my face is a blur in the mirror. Glasses on, I can’t see myself any better — not the real me, anyway.

Author Barbara Falconer Newhall wearing glasses -- as she has for most of her life. Photo by Barbara Newhall

If you look closely at the lens on your left, you’ll see how it distorts what’s behind it. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Am I pretty? I wouldn’t know. Mouth and nose are in place. Ears don’t stick out. But my dark brown eyes and matching eyelashes? I can’t get a good look at them through my high-minus lenses. There’s a lot glare, for one thing. And the super-thick lenses shrink everything behind them, causing my eyes look beady and my eyelashes stubby.

But what if my eyelashes aren’t really stubby? What if they’re long and swoopy? What if my serviceable brown eyes are actually doe-like? Sexy even?

My first cataract surgery was coming up. Time to find out. I got out my trusty point-and-shoot, took off my glasses, and snapped some pictures. Glasses back on my face, I studied the photos and tried to get used to the sight of the new — that is to say, the old, really old — me.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like “My Upper Lip and Other Sorrows.”  Also, “How Do You Play With A Barbie Doll?”



  1. I can definitely relate to this one! 100%

  2. Connie Dugger says:

    Well, is it a done deal or something happening tomorrow? Whatever, it is the best!


  1. […] the — optimistic — first installment of the Cataract Chronicles at “The Cataract Chronicles — I’ll Be Seeing Me.”  You might also enjoy “My Upper Lip and Other […]

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