Cataract surgery is life-altering experience for Chichester resident

24 October 2023

Sandee Lewis, 72 from Chichester in West Sussex, has spent a lifetime wearing glasses and lenses, 65 years in fact, until NHS surgery at a local specialist hospital revealed a world which is now sharp and clear.

And despite the national waiting lists for cataract surgery, Sandee was seen for consultation at Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire ( within just nine days of referral.

Sandee said: “I started wearing glasses when I was just seven years old, and then lenses from the age of 12, so I can’t really remember ever being without them. I didn’t know what clear vision looked like, as my astigmatism is so bad that lenses never gave me the sight I wanted.

“I was told several years ago that I had cataracts in both eyes but that they weren’t bad enough to be removed on the NHS. I don’t drive but I certainly noticed a decline in my vision as my cataracts grew.

“One day I lost a contact lens, so booked in to see my optometrist thinking that it would be an appointment to replace the lens. However, I was told that my cataracts had developed to the point where they were ready to be treated on the NHS. I was very relieved – in fact I shouted hooray, much to the surprise of the optometrist!”

Sandee was referred to and seen for her free NHS consultation just nine days later. “I couldn’t believe how quickly I was seen.”

Mr Javier Bardavío, consultant surgeon at Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire, treated Sandee and he said: “Cataracts are very common and surgery to remove the cloudy lens is the only treatment option. The procedure aims at curing blur or other visual symptoms like poor contrast or glare induced by the loss of lens transparency.

“When left alone they tend to become more dense and may increasingly affect quality of vision – as indeed Sandee noticed. In order to maintain independence and particularly for safe driving, we would encourage anyone whose optician suspect cataract to arrange a consultation as soon as possible.

“We are delighted that here at Optegra we are able to offer both NHS and private cataract surgery options within just weeks of referral, and the patients can then enjoy clear vision again.”

Six weeks after her consultation, Sandee had surgery on her first eye.

“I was apprehensive before the first surgery because I really didn’t know what to expect. Just before the operation, the surgeon told me that my astigmatism was very bad and that I would probably still need to wear corrective lenses afterwards which was a little

disappointing. But I needn’t have worried because almost immediately after surgery, I could see much better than I had before.

“The surgery was painless and not at all frightening, the experience far exceeded my expectations. The vision in my left eye was so good that it took over until the right eye was done two months later.

“I am thrilled with the results. I no longer have to carry around a case and wetting solution for my lenses, I can be at the beach and supervise grandchildren swimming, I can watch TV from a distance, I can recognise people walking toward me – I just feel liberated and more in control than I did before.

“I do have to wear glasses for reading but that’s a small price to pay, and I don’t have to wear corrective lenses at all.”

“I used to feel that I was living in an impressionist painting – everything was a blur without my lenses. Now I can see the world clearly and the change is life altering. In addition to being thoroughly impressed by the results of the surgery, I was also impressed by the clean and modern facility as well as by the professionalism, helpfulness and friendliness of the entire staff. I cannot praise it highly enough.”

Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire is part of Optegra Eye Health Care and is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services. Established in 2007, with its first hospital opening in 2008, it has completed over one million eye procedures from its 31 eye hospitals and over 60 locations across the UK, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.

Optegra brings together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment. It performs more than 140,000 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.


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