After hoisting her left eye wide open with an eyelid speculum, Dr. Ruit peered through a microscope

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VadimR

Senior Member
Russian
After hoisting her left eye wide open with an eyelid speculum, Dr. Ruit peered through a microscope as he made a tiny incision in her eyeball and then tugged out the cataract.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/sunday/in-5-minutes-he-lets-the-blind-see.html

What does it mean here?

Moderator's note: Vadim had edited his post to indicate that "it" referred to "hoist," but he didn't do so until after a subsequent poster had asked for clarification. Please don't edit a post once someone has already replied to it. It makes the thread confusing. -- JustKate, English Only moderator
 
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  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't see that as careless writing, Keith. It's normal to talk of the eye being opened, "He opened her left eye", so I can't see anything wrong with "He hoisted her eye open", other than to comment that it's stylistically poor writing and I imagine that he was far more careful than this sentence suggests.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ...It's normal to talk of the eye being opened, "He opened her left eye", so I can't see anything wrong with "He hoisted her eye open"...
    Hmmm, I'm not convinced. Given that hoist = lift (I think we're agreed on that) would you say, for instance, "After lifting the box wide open..."? I can see that the writer didn't want to repeat eyelid.

    I imagine that he was far more careful than this sentence suggests.
    I agree entirely - hoist suggests heavy weights and strong machinery.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The writer also says that Dr Ruit "tugged out" the cataract. These rather odd verbs may be just an attempt to heighten the drama of this procedure being done in such "primitive" conditions.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I don't see that as careless writing, Keith. It's normal to talk of the eye being opened, "He opened her left eye", so I can't see anything wrong with "He hoisted her eye open", other than to comment that it's stylistically poor writing and I imagine that he was far more careful than this sentence suggests.
    If I raise my eyelids, I would certainly say that I "open my eye," but I would be reluctant to say "he opened her eye" in this context. We're talking about surgery, after all. He is about to cut into her eye. "He opened her eye" in such a context sounds as if it means "he made an incision in her eyeball."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I didn't travel to Nepal for it, but I had that same surgery just recently. As wide as you are able to open your eyes normally, it is not wide enough for the surgeon. So he grabs the eyelid and lifts is further up. As I recall he was not so gentle in that regard, and "hoist" works for me.

    This was all done under a local anesthetic so the sensations were blunted, but the sensation that the eyelid was being lifted was certainly there. An observer might think this "hoisting" more dramatic than the patient.

    And yes, you can see immediately, though I suspect that my condition had not advanced as far as the ones in the article.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think the writer should have hoisted the eyelid; hoisting an entire eye sounds grisly! :eek:
    He didn't hoist an entire eye. He hoisted the eye open. We open our eyes wide; we don't normally open our eyelids wide.

    And "tugged"seems perfectly reasonable in the context. The lens won't just drop out.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Nowadays they use ultrasound to make a precise slit just large enough to the plastic replacement lens to fit. I would assume they used a small forceps to tug out the natural lens which had become clouded. So "tugged" sounds about right to me too.
     
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