Yesterday I saw a leading ophthalmologist for a final review prior to two cataract operations. Over the past couple of years I have seen a man in London of some eminence but as I have moved to the coast there are clearly practical benefits in having the procedure done locally. I was trying to sort out the operations with the administrator of the London surgeon and given two were required, it became logistically more trying but this was resolved from an unlikely source. A taxi driver ,who took me to lunch that same morning with an IFA (independent financial advisor), informed he had the very same procedure here performed by a Professor Liu who enjoys the highest of reputations. As a golfing man I wondered if he might be in some way related to Mr Lu, the charming little Taiwanese fellow with a pork pie hat he doffed after every successful shot, who entranced us all in the Open at Royal Birkdale in 1971. I recall him hitting a wayward shot striking a spectator, causing the ball to bounce back into the fairway off the victim’s head. Mr Lu still obtained a birdie and the victim, a Mrs Tipping, a free holiday in Taiwan from him. “Mr Lu, get me another birdie …” Mrs Tipping is reported to have said before being borne off to casualty but although he did Mr Lu finished second to Lee Trevino.
The local Professor’s approach is more traditional. With my previous man a series of tests are conducted by his assistant then at the end you have a consultation with him. Here Professor Liu does it all. These procedures do not come cheaply but judging by the crowded waiting room, on a Saturday too, he is a man in demand. One of the features I look for in a surgeon is the ability to explain simply what is going to happen. The procedure lasts 30-60 minutes and involves keyhole surgery to drain off the cataract, the milky substance over the lens that makes vision opaque. Another operation on the other eye takes place a fortnight afterwards. It’s not a case of the one-eyed man being king in the kingdom of the blind as uncertainty lies in the quality of restored vision afterwards given my astigmatism. As I said to Polly who kindly volunteered to add putting in eye drops to her other portfolio of services, we shall see. Or rather I hope I will.