Full speed ahead for Silverstone driving instructor

For Buckingham driving instructor Andy Gray, good, sharp, distance vision is critical for his job running a driver training business and working as a driving instructor at Silverstone.

Andy, 52, works with several blue-chip car companies including his role as a driving consultant at the Porsche Driving Experience, Silverstone. He delivers one-to-one training, tailored towards customers’ needs to ensure they get the best out of themselves and their performance cars. Excellent eyesight is critical to his job and in order to renew his race licence, he requires an annual medical which includes a stringent eyesight test.

He has been wearing glasses since he was 15 and contact lenses occasionally for the past 20 years. Although he didn’t experience any problems with either, wearing glasses on windy and wet circuits meant constant cleaning and the possibility of compromised vision. He also found it inconvenient wearing glasses under a race helmet.

Andy had been thinking about laser eye treatment for some years but it wasn’t until he read about ClarivuTM that he decided the time was right.

Clarivu is the Optegra brand name for its individually tailored, consultant-led vision correction (or Refractive Lens Exchange – RLE) package. The package includes all diagnostic eye assessments, an advanced technology intraocular lens (IOL) specially selected for the lifestyle and visual goals of the patient, the procedure undertaken in an Optegra eye hospital and post-operative care.

Andy says: “My wife has a background in the medical profession and she helped me research Optegra and its consultant surgeons. We were impressed with what we saw and this gave me the confidence to go ahead with the procedure. Reading about Ruth Langsford’s experience was reassuring – if she had such a positive experience then why shouldn’t I?

“Like Ruth, I wanted to be able to get on with the small practical things in everyday life – read ingredients on packets and menus in restaurants without having to reach for my glasses. Clarivu offered me that possibility.”

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Vik Sharma, from Optegra Eye Hospital, London, filled Andy with confidence.

He explains: “We were hoping to give Mr Gray excellent long distance and near vision without the need for glasses, which would enable him to continue with his career for many years to come. Whilst we couldn’t guarantee the outcome, we felt very confident that this was achievable and, in fact, his vision is now two lines better than 20/20 and significantly better than when he was wearing glasses. It’s just the outcome we had planned.”

Andy continues: “I couldn’t believe how quick and painless the procedure was. I was worried that the anaesthetic eye drops wouldn’t work but of course they did, and I didn’t feel a thing and was surprised when they said that the procedure had been done! After just 48 hours my vision was perfect. All the staff at Optegra were outstanding – they made me feel at ease right from the start.”

Since Clarivu, Andy no longer needs glasses for driving and only wears them very occasionally, for example, reading a book late at night in low light. And this is only to make the text crisper when he’s tired – he could manage easily enough without them at all. He can now continue his driver training and performance driving without the hassle of wearing glasses.

He says: “I am really thrilled with the outcome and I am telling everyone about it. In fact I recently met up with a friend considering the same treatment who was worried about the risks and benefits of the procedure. I advised him to read and understand the risk versus benefit information and then go ahead with the procedure! I wish I had done it years ago and I am excited about the many years of glasses-free vision ahead of me. It was truly a life changing experience for me.”


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