A Chance Waiting Room Meet-up Spins Into A New Friendship

30 January 2023

Friendships can be formed in unusual circumstances – and for two ladies from West Sussex and Hampshire, a recent hospital appointment delivered more than expected!

Sue Lee, 78, from Chichester, and Beverley Gray, 75 from Hayling Island, were both referred to eye specialist Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire (www.Optegra.com ) for cataract surgery.  On chatting in the waiting room, they discovered more in common than their need for eye treatment.

By coincidence, the two ladies then met again as they also had their cataract surgery on the same day, just weeks after their consultation appointments.

Sue explains: “Beverley and I were sitting next to each other in the reception area at our initial consultation and we started to chat. She had recently moved to the area from London and was looking for sociable activities in the local area. I love dancing, in fact I used to be a dance instructor, so mentioned the Silver Steppers musical theatre group in Chichester.  We got on so well that Beverley decided to come along and give it a try.”

Beverley says, “I loved Zumba classes in London and wanted to find something similar following our relocation. Sue mentioned the group she attends and it sounded fun, so the next week I went along. I had a wonderful reception from everyone and thoroughly enjoyed it. I now go regularly and have met some lovely new people – I am so lucky to have met Sue at Optegra.”

As well as a new friendship, both ladies are also now benefitting from clarity of vision.

Sue was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes a year ago. She says, “I was told at that time that the NHS were not accepting cataract patients unless their vision was severely compromised, and that waiting lists for surgery were very long.  At that point I could still see and have a very active life, from dancing and gardening to dog agility, so avoided surgery then.”

Fast forward a year, and Sue noticed her vision was becoming worse and was concerned about having a fall as she could not see as well as usual. A friend recommended Optegra, as she had just undergone her own cataract surgery. “Within a few weeks, I had an appointment at Optegra and there I was, meeting Beverley!”.

Beverley knew she had a cataract when she moved from London but put off surgery as she was nervous about the operation. “During my regular eye exam, the optician suggested that now was the time to have the cataract removed, as I had become nervous driving at night due to halos around the oncoming lights,” she explains.

Both Beverley and Susan were impressed with the speed at which they were referred and subsequently treated, at Optegra. “As our initial assessments were on the same day, it also meant that our surgery was on the same day, in fact only 15 minutes apart. We did have a laugh, sitting there with our eye patches on and no make-up” said Beverley, and Sue agreed.

Now, the two ladies are thankful for their newfound friendship and are looking forward to many years of dancing ahead with their brand-new vision.

Optegra Hampshire consultant surgeon, Mr Javier Bardavio, said: “It was a pleasure to treat both Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray.  Cataract was affecting vision for both of them.  It is a very common condition but which can have a big impact, such as making driving difficult and affecting independence, confidence and hobbies.

“The procedure is quick and can really transform vision. I am so pleased that both of these ladies have had excellent outcomes, and that they have also discovered each other and formed this lovely new friendship!”

Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire is part of Optegra Eye Health Care and is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services. Established in 2007, it has completed over one million eye procedures from its 31 eye hospitals and clinics across the UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

Optegra brings together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  It performs more than 120,000 treatments annually, both private and publicly funded. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes and great patient service.


Tel: 0800 077 3272


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