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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Yourview@ theaus­tralian.com.au

I EN­JOYED Miriam Cosic’s ar­ti­cle about Claude Monet and his gar­den (‘‘Flow­er­ing Am­bi­tion’’, April 27-28) and, as a spe­cial­ist oph­thal­mol­o­gist, was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested to read the pas­sage re­gard­ing the se­ries of cataract op­er­a­tions the artist en­dured (for that is surely the word). Then, as now, treat­ment for cataract was a great achieve­ment for the science of surgery, cur­ing the scourge of blind­ness and in­deed restor­ing use­ful vi­sion. Nowa­days we use hol­low ul­tra­sonic nee­dles or a spe­cial laser to dis­as­sem­ble the very core of the eye’s lens un­der di­rect vi­sion us­ing pow­er­ful and so­phis­ti­cated mi­cro­scopes. The dis­eased tis­sue is re­placed by a pros­the­sis se­lected by the sur­geon for the in­di­vid­ual pa­tient. But the prin­ci­ple is the same for the mod­ern sur­geon as it was for those in ear­lier times per­form­ing the op­er­a­tion we now call couch­ing: sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments con­trolled by the sur­geon in­side the eye. How­ever, far from be­ing ‘‘sim­ple laser surgery’’, Cosic’s de­scrip­tion be­lies the com­plex­ity and sub­tleties of cataract surgery. Monet’s own ex­am­ple of re­luc­tance to un­dergo the pro­ce­dure is in­struc­tive. Ian Red­die Mund­ing­burra, Queens­land IT is not widely known that Monet’s love of wa­ter lilies stemmed from a dis­play of wa­ter lilies by Joseph Bory La­tour-Mar­liac in the Tro­cadero gar­dens at the 1889 World Fair in Paris. In 1875, near the vil­lage of Le Tem­ple-sur-Lot in south­west France, La­tour-Mar­liac es­tab­lished a nurs­ery for the prop­a­ga­tion of wa­ter lilies and dis­cov­ered a way to hy­bridise the na­tive white lilies with the colour­ful Amer­i­can ones. Al­though the nurs­ery has changed own­er­ship sev­eral times it still ex­ists to­day with a won­der­ful flo­ral dis­play, lily ponds and small mu­seum ex­hibit­ing the orig­i­nal doc­u­ment for Monet’s or­der of a large num­ber of wa­ter lilies for es­tab­lish­ing his wa­ter lily gar­dens at Giverny. Ali­son Cook Caves Beach, NSW To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, let­ters must con­tain an ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters may be edited for length and clar­ity.

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