Double eye surgery for ‘always together’ Staffordshire couple

17 January 2024

Finding out you have a cataract is not unusual but to discover it on the same day as your spouse, and then go on to have surgery on the same day too, is something quite special.  That’s exactly what happened for Fred and Thelma Beaumont, 74 and 75 respectively, from Ipstones in Staffordshire.

And the surgery has proved to be life-changing, particularly for Thelma who had a very strong prescription of -11 and had been reliant on glasses since just six years old.

The couple have enjoyed a lifetime together.  Thelma said: “We both grew up in the small village of Waterhouses, attending the same school. I even set Fred up on a blind date with one of my friends but fortunately for me it didn’t work out! We got together at the age of 17 and were married just a few years later. We’ve spent the past 57 years side by side.”

“We do everything together” continued Fred. “Although we’re now retired, we had a family haulage company for many years and worked there together too. So, when our regular eye tests were due it was only natural that we would go together.”

Fred and Thelma were both told at their appointments that they had cataracts – Thelma in both eyes and Fred in his right eye. “I had noticed that driving was becoming a struggle and I was seeing halos around lights at night” said Fred. “We both thought that our glasses weren’t doing the job and that we needed new lenses, but clearly that wasn’t the case.”

The optometrist referred them both to the specialist NHS cataract clinic, Optegra Eye Clinic Uttoxeter, and they were delighted to be offered appointments within just two weeks. “I had my pre-op check first and Thelma followed a week later. We were then asked if we would like to have our procedures on the same day, to make travel arrangements easier, and that suited us perfectly,” said Fred.

“It meant we could go through the recovery process at the same time” Thelma said. “We were like a pair of bookends on the sofa – me with a patch on my left eye and Fred with a patch on his right!”

For Thelma, who has been wearing glasses since the age of six, having the cataract surgery has been life changing. Her vision, at -11, was described as one of the worse that the pre-op nurse had seen. “I no longer need to wear glasses to watch the TV and colours have lost their yellowy hue and are now brilliantly bright.”

Fred feels the same way – “everything is now dazzlingly bright” he said.

Optegra ophthalmic surgeon, Mr Pedro Muel, said: “It was a privilege to treat this couple, and for them to support each other and experience this treatment at the same time was lovely to see.

“Both Mr and Mrs Beaumont have had excellent outcomes to their surgery, and we hope it will really make a difference to them.  Cataract is very common, and can cloud vision and distort colour, as well as making driving difficult due to glare from other car lights.

“The procedure is pain free, quick and can make such a difference. We are delighted to be able to provide free NHS cataract surgery in the region, with very short wait times.”

The pair love to travel at home and away in their caravan. “We previously owned a motor home and have travelled across Europe to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland and France. We are really looking forward to getting back on the road with our caravan and exploring in the New Year. Everything will feel so much more magical with our double, technicolour vision.

“Having surgery has been the best decision for both of us and doing it side by side, as we do in life, was all the more special.”

If you have been diagnosed with cataract you can ask your optician or GP to refer you to Optegra Eye Clinic Uttoxeter, where you will have pre-op tests within two weeks and treatment within six.

Optegra Eye Clinic Uttoxeter is part of Optegra Eye Health Care, 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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