Anna Day With Optegra Consultant Surgeon, Shafiq Rehman
Anna Day (Bramley), a scrub nurse from Blackburn, experienced the opposite side of the operating theatre recently as she became patient for the day, to restore her vision.
Age 53, Anna has worked at Optegra Eye Hospital Manchester for the past six years, where she assists in vision correction operations as well as cataract surgery.
She recently had both of her own eyes operated on the same day with a procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange, which replaces that natural lens of the eye with one tailored to the patient’s prescription, enabling them to live without glasses or contact lenses.
She explains: “Covid has created a whole extra challenge for me. Wearing glasses with both a facemask and visor in surgery is such a challenge. While steaming up was a problem, it was also because I wear varifocals, which have a point in the lens across where the prescription changes – but my facemask was pushing the glasses higher up by nose, so it was putting my vision out. This was the final straw for me and so I looked into having my vision corrected.”
Having worn glasses for distance vision since she was just five years old, she has depended on varifocals for the past 20 years, and particularly struggled with them in work. She had tried contact lenses but they were impossible to wear in theatre with the air conditioning drying her eyes out.
She has ended up spending a fortune on designer glasses over the years: “As they had to be on my face all the time, I wanted to love them and so would get new frames each two years, whether my prescription changed or not!” she explained.
Anna was treated at Optegra Eye Hospital Manchester by consultant surgeon Mr. Shafiq Rehman, who said: “Anna’s experience is typical of many trying to juggle wearing facemasks and varifocal glasses – but worse in that she needed to wear the facemask for so many hours a day due to her work.
“As Anna also had early-stage cataract, Refractive Lens Exchange was the ideal procedure for her. It replaces the natural lens of the eye, which in the case of cataract is the part of the eye which clouds over, and so we have been able to correct her vision and also remove her cataract all in one procedure.
“As she drives 80 miles a day round trip for work, it is vital that her vision works at its optimum level and particularly as cataracts can cause glare when driving in the dusk or dark. She does not have to worry about these things anymore!
“As always it has been a pleasure to treat a fellow member of staff, and this is proving a great comfort to patients as they arrived for their own treatment, that Anna can share her honest perspective on how the procedure was for her.”
Having worked as a nurse for 30 years, Anna said: “I love to make a difference to someone’s life every day that I work. Knowing that every day someone is going home with a better quality of life is wonderful and now that I have been a patient also, I can relate to that even more.
“It is also fantastic to be able to reassure patients who are quite naturally apprehensive – I can now say I have had the procedure personally and can describe how it was for me, which can be very reassuring.”
Anna is delighted with her vision now and cannot believe the difference it has made, for watching computer screens, shopping, and being able to make the font smaller on her Kindle. She does not need glasses at all after so many years.
She says, “I was very tempted to have plain lenses in my frames as had never really seen myself with no glasses on. But oh no, I like this!”
Anna lives with her adult son and enjoys DIY and reading, joking that she was “self-isolating before it was all fashionable!” as she enjoys her own company.
Optegra Eye Hospital Manchester is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services in the UK. It operates 23 eye hospitals and clinics, bringing together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes. Contact the hospital for a free no obligation consultation.