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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.