The Glorious Gift of Sight

I just had my second cataract surgery the other day, and I am jaw-droppingly amazed at the results. 

My first cataract surgery two weeks ago showed me its potential: the gift of immediately improved eyesight. I, who have had glasses since I was 6 years old and for whom the point of focus has been 4 inches in front of my face (I kid you not; I measured), could suddenly work at the computer screen, read and paint — — but at first, only with the “new” eye, of course.

Wonderful as corrected vision is, there was an additional miracle, because, of course, cataract surgery removes cataracts, that cloudy crud that obscures vision as we age. When the crud is gone the world appears in crisp clean color. The day after my first surgery, I compared what I saw through my newly corrected eye with what I saw through the cataract-coated lens. Ohmagosh, what a difference! The latter looked as if raw sienna watercolor had been washed over the world. Here’s the difference:

Left side: cataract impaired view / Right side: cataract-free view

Pretty cool, huh?

To an artist, the fresh new view is especially lush with the color  blue — which makes sense, as raw sienna is close to a color complement to blue and so turns blue to gray. But other colors change too. The reds, greens and yellows are all more vibrant. Now that I have had the second surgery and my vision is the best it’s been in years, I’m excited to contemplate what this will do to my painting. I expect it will become more vibrant too. After all, if I’m not seeing a brownish world, I won’t be painting one. Hooray for modern surgery that makes all this possible!


  1. Ruthie Potter says:


    I’m not an artist, but I love art, and I was awed by what that operation did for my left eye (2001). My right eye wasn’t ready for the operation for at least another 4 years, and of course I kept wishing for it to get bad enough for that second operation! 🙂

    My mother had the surgery back when it was new. She had to stay in bed in a dark room for a week. She loved to read, so I’m sure she nearly went bonkers. I have no idea what she did to keep herself occupied all that time. We are so lucky now.

  2. Kim George says:

    Wow Marilynn that is so cool! You want to know what is funny? During our class this Summer at the Clearing, I noticed how much yellow you used in your paintings. I thought it was interesting especially since I was looking at what you were painting and not seeing that. Amazing how that can change your perception of color and not just your clarity. Thanks for your insight! Hope things are going wonderful for you two in retirement. Any new on your book?

    • Hi, Kim. I suspected I wasn’t seeing the world as it was. How interesting that you noticed that! The book has not yet been picked up by a publisher, so I’m getting ready to self-publish after the first of the year. Stay tuned!

      • Julia McBee says:

        Hi Marilynn,

        Why were you up at 4:08 this morning?

        I liked seeing your example of the before-after painting, a proof of what our perception does. Since we talked about all this on Tuesday, I won’t repeat myself.

        It’s snowing here and I’m hoping it will last a couple of days, at least. The quiet beauty of it always touches me and reminds me of how much I loved growing up during the time that Frankfort, Kentucky, had snow every winter. Even getting out in it was a pleasure and a time to be focused and careful.

        Love Julia

        • Hi, J. I wasn’t up at 4:30; that’s when Constant Contact sent it out I guess. Yes, I saw that it’s snowing in the South!!! And here we are in Colorado with a sunny 60 degrees. Oh so funny. Well, enjoy!

  3. Glad your cataract surgery went so well!
    Have fun and keep warm!

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