Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Aging Aeronaut - Eyes

... no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop ...
If you are young and immortal you can skip this post. least for now.

I had been working with the eye doctor for some time. As you get older these appointments become more important. My glasses had the correct prescription but it had become increasingly difficult to drive at night. The glare from oncoming headlights was more disturbing and reading highway signs was a challenge. Part 61.57 states I need three takeoffs and full stop landings every 90 days to allow me to take passengers along with me at night. During my latest night currency flight I noted that Sally's landing light had gotten awfully dim. It was time.

We decided to wait until after Sun 'N Fun. Cataract Surgery would remove each of my lenses and replace them with the latest technology flexible implanted artificial lenses. A new procedure would also insert a medicine package to alleviate the use of eye drops. I was told the recovery time would be minimal.

This was true for the left eye. The procedure was done on Friday, by Saturday morning that eye was back to 20/20. Miraculous. Not so true for the right eye. That procedure was done the following Friday and I was virtually blind in that eye the next day. I could see the remains of the medicine pack as a black shadow over my eye and the center of my vision was completely blurred. Not good. Turns out that although rare, the invasive procedure had caused swelling in my retina. The doctor prescribed eye drops to help reduce the swelling. I hate eye drops.

Yesterday I flew for the first time since the surgery. It was glorious! I CLEARLY watched a blimp traverse the Philadelphia airspace. Traffic calls in the pattern were easy. All with no glasses! Left eye vision is better than 20/20 and a true joy. Right eye is still improving, probably back to about where it was when we started. I still have some minor swelling.  ...and it is only going to get better. The new lenses allow some "tweaking" to fine tune the vision after 90 days. I'm excited about the future.

Sally is doing well. The DSAB failures and Low Voltage problems were all fixed by replacing the voltage Regulator/Rectifier.  We did 5 landings and with all of them we were off on the first taxiway for 29er. Gusts to 10kts and nearly a direct crosswind. I had a smile on my face the whole time.

Video Notes: none

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