“I didn’t wear contact lenses as I had tried them years ago but they were strong. They were thick and too uncomfortable to wear so I gave them up.
I resisted wearing glasses throughout my childhood as I was embarrassed but I finally had to give in when I was about 20.
I’d worn varifocals for distance and reading for quite a while. I worked in an office so needed to use them while on the computer. They were getting thicker and thicker, uncomfortable and my eyesight kept deteriorating. I didn’t want to envisage a time when I was wearing bottle-bottom glasses!
Although wearing varifocals made life possible, I refused to wear them in social situations. I would take them out with me in my handbag and only put them on if I had to read something. I absolutely hated glasses with a vengeance.
I relied on other people’s eyes and would ask them to read out a menu. I couldn’t make people out in a room. I got used to a very dim, blurry kind of world and adapted to it the best I could.
I couldn’t wear glasses for many of the activities I did, like swimming. If I went to the gym it was a nightmare as I couldn’t programme the equipment – I’d have to try to remember the sequence and, more often than not, I would get the wrong programme so would end up exercising too fast or too slow. I could never read numbers on lockers so would always pick the same one. I used to have to do a lot by memory, on autopilot.
I thought about laser eye surgery about two and a half years ago but didn’t know where to start. Someone recommended James Ball. He did a really thorough examination of my vision and said he wouldn’t do laser treatment on my eyes as the correction was too borderline. He said I could go somewhere else to get laser surgery done, but that he wouldn’t do it. I felt he had integrity and that I didn’t want to go anywhere else, as they would be doing it for the money and not with my best interests at heart. I knew my eyesight was poor but precious. Instead he suggested ‘Clarivu’ as the recommended option for me.
I’d never heard of it so I pushed it out of my mind. Then I met someone who’d had it done – she was 65 and had high astigmatism. She said she’d never looked back, and never needed glasses – her eyes looked a treat. I thought, “Right, I’m doing it.” I emailed about an appointment and James got back in touch personally right away. I made an appointment for another assessment at the Optegra Eye Hospital in Yorkshire. It was marvellous right from the beginning. The medical staff were friendly and knowledgeable, which put me at ease.
It didn’t feel like a normal hospital – it was more comfortable with coffee pots and gave out a relaxed atmosphere altogether. It was a relaxed environment without hospital corridors, which really helped put me at ease.
I was quite nervous on the day, thinking a needle would be put in the corner of my eye. Much to my surprise and delight, there were no needles whatsoever. The anaesthetic was in the form of drops. Music was played in the background and James and his assistant really made me feel relaxed. While I was having Clarivu done, I quite enjoyed it! There was nothing uncomfortable about the procedure whatsoever. It lasted about 15 minutes. I went home almost straight away. They taped a Perspex eye shield on my face for 24 hours and I had to put drops in several times a day. I didn’t experience a single problem.
I had my worst eye done first and could see better through it even when walking back into the waiting room – even with the Perspex shield over it. My husband drove me home and I could not believe how, on the motorway, I could actually see car number plates. I spent most of the journey reading signposts. The effects were that immediate.
I went back the next week for a follow-up consultation. I saw James again and he was absolutely delighted with the results.
Now I can watch TV, read the writing at the bottom of the TV screen, read books, work on the computer, and go driving and shopping. If I go out for a walk I can even see the markings on leaves on the trees. I was getting clumsy and knocking things over, as my judgment about my vision had got worse: my husband wouldn’t even let me cross the road without him!
My confidence has especially improved socially. People used to sometimes wave and say ‘hello’ – I didn’t have a clue who they were because I couldn’t see them properly.
You need to have confidence in the person doing the procedure and I had 100% confidence in James because I knew he had my best interests at heart.
It’s completely changed my life. My whole world has become brighter, sharper, more interesting and I feel part of it instead of being distracted from it. It’s given me a lot more confidence, especially with work as you can see what you’re meant to be doing.
I was told I would have the same Consultant from start to finish which meant everything to me. This gave me great confidence. That’s the number one priority – that you’re confident in the person doing it.”
“ClarivuTM” is the Optegra brand name for its individually tailored, consultant-led vision correction (Refractive Lens Exchange – RLE) package. RLE is a proven and permanent lens replacement procedure that could eliminate or reduce your dependence on glasses as well as prevent or remove cataracts.
The package includes; all diagnostic eye assessments, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), specifically chosen for the lifestyle and visual goals of the patient by their Optegra consultant ophthalmic surgeon at their consultation, the procedure undertaken in an Optegra eye hospital and all post-operative care.