Teresita Ramirez-Aquino was terrified that she was permanently losing her sight, as Covid meant she had her NHS appointments cancelled four times, resulting in a cataract that was so dense she struggled to see more than the clouds in the sky.
Originally from the Philippines, Teresita, 84, moved to London in 1975 and worked in domestic service before becoming a beauty consultant at Boots. “I have never had any issues with my eyesight and only started wearing reading glasses for small print at the age of 72”, explained Teresita. “Six years ago I had a cataract removed in my right eye but at this time, there was no evidence of a cataract in my left eye. I could see very well.”
During a routine eye appointment in early 2020, Teresita discovered that she had a cataract in her left eye. She said “The optometrist wrote a letter to my GP asking for a referral to a specialist eye hospital. However, the GP said it was too early to refer me and I believed in him because my sight wasn’t so bad and I hadn’t noticed any changes. I could still see with my reading glasses.
“I was all set to travel to the Philippines for a two month stay so I continued with that, but two days after I returned, the country went in to the first Covid lockdown.”
During the pandemic, Teresita started to notice a change in her vision whilst reading from the bible during the regular online services that took place. She explains “As a committed Christian, I regularly attend church and support my son, a pastor, in his ministry. We have morning devotion five days a week and I read a verse in the bible during the service. It was during the pandemic, when we had to conduct the service over zoom, that I struggled to see the text and had to stop doing the reading.”
After visiting her GP and explaining that her vision was now very blurry, Teresita was referred to an eye hospital in London but her appointment was cancelled four times and she couldn’t get through to anyone on the phone. “I was beginning to feel a bit desperate as I could only see clouds and not much else. I asked my GP to refer me somewhere else – I was crying because I was so worried that I was losing my sight. That’s when my GP suggested Optegra.”
Teresita was treated at Optegra Eye Hospital North London by Consultant Surgeon Mr Javad Moayedi. He said “When I first examined Mrs Ramirez-Aquino’s eyes I couldn’t see the back because her cataract was so advanced. It had become ‘white’, something we don’t usually see in this country and more typically associated with third world countries.
“I understand that she had many delays to her treatment due to Covid, and this is why her cataract became opaque. I am glad we were able to help her achieve the vision she deserves.”
As a diabetic, Teresita is used to managing her health and diet so taking her eye drops regularly post-surgery was no problem. “I like to keep active and I am so happy that I can now see clearly with no problems. I am back at the church reading the bible which I love to do.
“I want to say a huge thank you to Optegra for helping me when I felt so helpless. My life was a struggle but now I am reaping the rewards. I am returning to the Philippines for good in November – it will be wonderful to see all my family again without a cataract blurring my vision.”