cataract | ˈkatərakt | noun 1 a large waterfall 2 a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque.
Origin: late Middle English: from Latin cataracta ‘waterfall, floodgate’, also ‘portcullis’
portcullis | pɔːtˈkʌlɪs | noun a strong, heavy grating that can be lowered down grooves on each side of a gateway to block it.
ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French porte coleice ‘sliding door’, from porte ‘door’ (from Latin porta) + coleice ‘sliding’ (feminine of couleis, from Latin colare ‘to filter’).
I had never made the connection between waterfalls and eye opaqueness until recently my own cataracts had progressed sufficiently to enable their replacement. The key connecting word, from the above definitions, is ‘portcullis’: the heavy gratings that have been slowly lowering over my eye lens for the past few years.
I was due to have my driver’s licence renewed, and was concerned that I would fail the eyesight test: so, it was a relief to find that my cataracts had grown sufficiently to qualify me for their removal. All went well, except for a large bruise under my right eye where the anaesthetist must have hit a blood vessel (I liked to pass it off a near miss from a can of beans).
I have always been short sighted but after the surgery, I find that I only need glasses for close reading. So, I was able to pass my driver’s licence eye test with flying colours, without spectacles. However, I did need a new licence without the obligatory ‘requires spectacles while driving’ so I needed a new photo to put on my replacement licence. When it came in the mail this week, I found that it shows me with the ‘shiner’ under my right eye preserved for evermore. Mr Magoo would have been amused (if he could have seen it). Heh.Heh.