Cataract can affect far more than just vision – as Kate Robinson discovered when her mother suffered with severe cataracts during lockdown.
Kate’s 83 year old mother has suffered with cataracts which were first diagnosed seven years ago, and she relays the severe impact the eye condition can have on both physical and mental health.
From a little village in Kent, Finola had her first eye treated with the NHS at Darenth Valley Hospital after an 18 month-2 year wait, but then the March lockdown occurred and so her second eye treatment was postponed.
Kate, 55, from West London, describes: “We had sadly lost my father shortly before the lockdown, her husband of 56 years, and so mum faced a really challenging time. Not only did she have to adapt to being alone, cooped up at home, with us only able to wave from the garden, she was grieving alone too. Then on top of this, her very poor vision was just too much.
“She phoned me one weekend to say she just could not cope anymore and that if only she could see, she would then be able to do things that would help her cope.
“It was at this point that I realised that my strong independent mum was in danger of becoming seriously depressed. How could I help the situation, especially from a distance? My work in healthcare meant I am familiar with private healthcare options and contacted a friend who is a Director at Optegra to ask for advice.”
As NHS treatments were on hold, they discussed the possibility of having her second eye treated privately, so that Finola did not have to go through the whole of lockdown suffering the way she did.
Finola was fortunate enough to be able to afford private cataract surgery, and she was so pleased that her NHS operation slot could then be allocated to someone else on the waiting list.
Since her treatment, she is delighted to have 20/20 vision restored, and can now enjoy the activities which she so needed to help with her grief and to cope with lockdown as well.
Kate explains: “It was not so much meals and practical chores that were a problem, but with the cataract she could not see well enough to enjoy the activities which would distract her, and give her the mental space she needed to cope with her grief.
“So her reading, crosswords, playing bridge on line – all of those stopped and left her with too much thinking time. Thankfully now, since her cataract operation, she is completely back on track. Back to her full strength of character, telling me what to do!! And importantly enjoying her hobbies and gardening – it has given her the strength to cope with the many challenges of 2020.”
“I am sure that if I had not known about the opportunity she could still be waiting for her cataract treatment now, and it has made us realise the huge impact that cataracts can have not only on physical health but also mental health.”
Optegra is continuing to treat cataract patients – both NHS and private – throughout lockdown, as it strives to help individuals improve their vision and their quality of life. The government advice is to keep medical appointments available and scheduled.
Its partnerships with the NHS mean patients can choose Optegra for their place of treatment and waiting lists are short – you can expect to have a consultation within a week, and operation the following week. We now also opened an NHS only cataract surgery in Newcastle.
Patients can also be reassured that we are taking all government advice relating to COVID 19 to make sure you and our colleagues are safe whilst in the hospital.
Whilst patients are at Optegra, you will be asked to wear a mask, sanitise your hands and one of our colleagues will take your temperature before entering the hospital. We conduct a COVID screening questionnaire to make sure you are safe to enter. Whilst in the hospital we have 2 metre social distancing in place and all colleagues and patients are following government guidelines.
Optegra has also the track and trace QR code for you to scan when you attend one of our 7 hospitals. We are also advising patients to arrive as close to their actual appointment time as possible to minimise the volume of people in our hospitals at any one time.
So do not delay longer than necessary but get in touch to find out more about how we can assist you with your treatment.