My laser eye surgery experience: Heather Clatworthy

Hearing laser eye surgery experiences of ordinary people is a great way to get a fuller understanding of the procedure, and to understand that you are not alone if you have worries about your treatment.

At Optegra, we have thousands of glowing laser eye surgery reviews on TrustPilot, making us the UK’s most trusted eye care provider. However, we know that sometimes it’s useful to hear about laser eye surgery experiences in more detail, so to help shed light on what laser eye surgery is really like, we’ve followed the story of fundraiser, active sportswoman and mother of two, Heather Clatworthy. 


Heather’s story

Heather grew up in Portstewart, a small seaside town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland but now resides in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire with her husband and two young children. As if they don’t keep her busy enough, she also enjoys keeping active through the likes of long distance open water swimming, horse riding, fundraising and competing in amateur triathlons in her spare time.

She had been wearing either glasses or contacts for over two decades in order to carry out her day to day tasks, and had thought about laser eye surgery for a number of years. But it wasn’t until Heather set her biggest ever fundraising goal that she wanted to finally go through with having her vision corrected.

Heather was going to do a gruelling 13 mile open water Atlantic Ocean swim between Stroove beach, County Donegal and Portstewart, County Londonderry in her native Northern Ireland – a feat that only one person had ever done before her. Famed English Channel swimmer Mercedes Gleitze had completed the route in 1929, and now, almost 90 years on, Heather was to follow in her footsteps.

Speaking to Optegra, Heather said: “I’ve worn glasses since I was 10 and contact lenses since I was 15. Although I am grateful that I have been able to see clearly since then, my love of the outdoors has raised certain challenges and I won’t be sad to see the back of them! Being able to see clearly when I swim will be amazing! And not having to worry about rain and mud on my glasses when I am land training will be great too.”


Heather’s laser eye surgery experience

Before treatment

Heather was looking forward to having laser eye surgery, not only because of the benefits it would have for her training, but also because of the benefits it would have on family life.

She said: “I just can’t wait to experience the benefits of being able to see my children at night time or when I wake up in the morning. Obviously it will also be great to be able to swim and not worry about my contacts falling out. I can’t wait to see what it’s like!”

Heather chose to have her surgery at Optegra’s Birmingham Eye Hospital with leading eye surgeon Mr Mark Wevill. Upon arrival on the day she couldn’t hide her excitement but was also very open about her nerves, asking Mr Wevill about what level of pain she could expect. After some reassurance that all she would experience was some slight pressure and blurriness afterwards, she was ready for surgery.

Heather later told us: “I turned up to a lovely modern building and was immediately met with friendly, relaxed staff who put me at ease. After a few eye tests, I met the surgeon who would be carrying out the procedure, which was fantastic. He was willing to spend the time answering my questions and discussing options, and I didn’t feel pushed or rushed.”

After treatment

In the video above you can see Heather with a beaming smile, talking to the presenter just moments after her surgery.

Describing the process she said: “It was amazing. I can’t believe how quick that was! It didn’t hurt at all. What an experience. Already I can actually see you without wearing my glasses or contacts, and I can read the time from the clock on the wall.”

Four weeks after her laser eye surgery, Heather got back in touch with Optegra to share just how much her procedure had changed her life.

She said: “I still cannot get over how amazing it is. I can see my children’s faces in the morning without having to run around for my glasses. When I’m out running, the things I can actually see now are outstanding. It’s the best thing I have ever done. No regrets.

I tell everyone I meet to just do it, don’t wait. I wish I had done it sooner! Taking the step to laser my eyes wasn’t a quick one, but I wanted to see my children grow up and enjoy the benefits of ‘seeing with my own eyes’! It is perfect timing for my swim and when I’m training, every now and then I stop and take my goggles off, and just take in the beautiful coastline and horizon.”


Heather’s Fundraising Swim

Just a few months after her life-changing surgery, Heather Clatworthy completed her big fundraising swim through the Atlantic Ocean from Stroove beach, County Donegal to Portstewart, County Londonderry. While the swim was expected to take her between 8 and ten hours, Heather smashed it in just 4 hours and 15 minutes and was welcomed onto dry land by her husband and two children.

Speaking to Optegra about her newly restored vision, Heather told us: “Swimming in open water allows you just one second to take a snapshot of where you are going. If you don’t get a good look, you go off in the wrong direction very easily. Six weeks after surgery, I swam in the moonlight on a 12 hour overnight swim. The sky was magical to see from the water - I haven’t been able to see that before!”

To find out how Optegra could help transform your life, just like Heather’s, book a consultation with one of our world class surgeons today. We have the best laser eye hospitals up and down the country, and would love to help change your life for the better. 

You can visit Heather’s website for more information on her fundraising. 

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