In June while I was in the UK Patricia went to the opticians. She had her glasses changed in January, but her vision wasn't very good and she was concerned. They said she had cataracts in both eyes - quite an opaque one in the right eye and less severe in the left. "You need to get them sorted", they said.
So they arranged an appointment with an eye-surgeon at the Clinique Tivoli for the beginning and middle of September - one eye one week, the other the next - and today we went for the pre-operation appointment with the surgeon.
She has also just made an appointment with the anaesthetist (though the anaesthetic is just in the form of drops) and she'll have to make two appointments for post-op checkups with her normal ophthalmologist.
The operation should be amazing. They'll put drops in her eyes to numb the eye, then make a 2mm incision and pulverise the opaque lens by ultra-sound, then remove it through the tiny slit. Then a replacement lens in acrylique is popped in through the slit and once in situ it flips out to form the new lens, carefully measured and made to measure to correct her vision. she should no longer need glasses for distance vision, or, if she does, she'll need just a slight correction. She may need reading glasses. And ordinary sunglasses, of course.
While the operation is going on what the surgeon sees through his operating microscope is relayed to a TV screen in an adjacent room where I can watch the proceedings. When we leave the clinique they'll give us a DVD with a recording of the operation.
The cost per eye is about 450 euros, but 2/3 is covered by the health service and the rest should be covered by our supplementary health insurance. But even if it was not, it would be worth it for the savings in spectacles each year.