seeing different colors in different eyes

Getting My Blues Back

It’s only three days past my cataract surgery and already, I’m feeling pretty good.

But I have to tell you that magic started as soon as I took off the tape from my eyelid, even before I could focus my eyes properly.

What magic, you ask?

Brunescence and cyanopsia.

In some cases, an untreated cataract can cause a person to see mostly brown tones. My vision hadn’t deteriorated to that extent, but seeing through my left eye, the one that still needs to have the cataract removed, the world is dingy, not quite brown, but certainly has a yellow filter. Blue in my right eye is teal in my left. Bright pink in my right is dusty rose in my left. Red in my right is more cayenne. Plus, I have no true whites through my left eye. Even the snow outside is of a darker shade, something called vanillin according to Sherwin Williams.

Yes, I am a nerd. I just now looked at paint chips on my computer and compared sample colors using my right eye with the color of snow through my left. My right eye sees snow as brighter and bluer than the ‘high reflective white’ sample. My left eye sees it as dirty snow, or more nicely, ‘vanillin.’

My brain is getting used to the effect, so it’s harder for me to distinguish now after three days of comparing. And I’ve been comparing. In every room, in every light, outside in the sun, in the shade, i’m comparing.

Through my right eye, everything is much more blue, more what the medical sites term as cyanopsia. It’s very pretty. But I’m sure that what I see isn’t as blue as the more extreme cases that have occurred. But who knows? I didn’t even mention it to the doctor. I like it too much to worry him over it.

Do you use Instagram? My right eye seems to have a ‘lark’ filter and my left eye has ‘rise.’

The strangest part is that I can tell, in any particular situation, which eye is dominant now because of the differences in color. Before surgery, I was left-eye dominant. The right lens of my glasses has always been much thicker than the lens of my left. I’m myopic. In my right eye, it was really bad even before I got cataracts. But now, when I don’t have my glasses on, I can tell, whenever my view is brighter, that my right eye is carrying the weight of my vision.

Sometimes a thing, for example, my car out the window right now, will look dingy on the right side and bright and clean on the left. The view through the window to my car is partially blocked by a tile that Nick painted for me when he was eight. When I close my right eye, I can only see the right side of my car. So, the two-eyed solution for my brain is that my car is dirtier on the right side than on the left. I’m sure that there have been as many piles of slushy dirty snow splashing the left side of my car as the right, but that’s what it looks like to me.

Strange.

I love how the human brain works.

All of this makes me think of Monet and how he painted just before and after his cataract surgery. The surgery was much more invasive back in 1923, but the effects on his color choices were stark even though he tried to control them. He labeled his tubes of paint to keep from getting the colors wrong. But his brain saw what his brain saw and he painted so many browns and oranges then. Before the surgery, he was so unhappy that he thought about not painting any more. It took a long time after the surgery for him to get used to his new colors. Can you imagine losing the one thing that you loved to do?

But the artwork itself says everything it needed to say. After the surgery, Monet got his blues and greens back.

And so did my eye.

Thank you for listening, jules