Hampshire locksmith, Priya Price, has worn contact lenses for many years, needing them all day long due to her severe poor vision.
However, dry eye irritation meant she had to stop wearing them and return to the glasses which she disliked – especially with her wedding around the corner.
She contacted Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire (www.optegra.com), in Whiteley where she has lived for three years, to explore her options and found that while she was not suitable for laser eye surgery due to her very strong prescription and dry eye, she was an ideal patient for the less well-known treatment, EVO ICL – implantable collamer lenses, also known as implantable contact lenses.
An ICL is a tiny, soft lens which is placed in the space behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and in front of the natural lens of the eye.
It is like wearing a contact lens inside your eye instead of on the surface and is practically invisible.
Priya, age 35, said: “My prescription was very strong – one eye is a +9 and the other is +10. So everything was a blur without glasses or contact lenses. To see anything I had to hold it right up to my nose. It meant wearing contacts 90 per cent of the day, every day since I was 18.
“I was very happy wearing contacts all day every day until earlier this year when the irritation began due to dry eye. I tried eye drops and all sorts but nothing helped. With our big day planned and especially as we were due to get married in Mexico, I was determined not to walk down the aisle in specs, it just did not feel like me.
“I had not heard of implantable contact lenses but though I was really quite nervous, I was so excited that something could be done. I went for it!”
Priya, who now lives in Westbury, went to Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire for her procedure, with both eyes treated on the same day. The clever technique involves the surgeon making a tiny incision and then placing a personally-tailored contact lens within the eye, without having to remove the eye’s natural lens. It permanently sits in place, under the cornea, providing excellent vision every day without the hassle of regular contact lenses which need removing and cleaning.
Her surgeon, Mr Alastair Stuart, said: “Priya had a very strong prescription which meant that traditional laser eye surgery was not suitable for her. However, we are able to offer implantable contact lenses which really provide life-changing vision for patients such as Priya.
“It takes a little while for eyes to settle, but even from the very next day Priya was delighted to have excellent vision unaided – and confidence to walk down the aisle glasses-free!
“Patients with prescriptions as high as Priya’s often assume nothing can be done for them. So, it was a real pleasure to meet Priya and be able to help her in this way.”
Priya and her wife got married in Mexico and she says she was able to feel completely herself, as well as enjoying a holiday without contacts drying out on the airplane, and the hassle of contacts when swimming.
With her work as a locksmith, and travelling at least 1,000 miles a week, she also appreciates her new vision at work.
Priya said: “When I took the patches off the day after the treatment, it was a miracle! 100% vision, wow!!
“Being a locksmith really depends on excellent vision – the work can be very precise and now I do not have to worry about contact lenses falling out, or getting dirty – it makes work so much easier. My eyes are not so tired with all the driving, as the traditional contact lenses were drying my eyes out.
“The team at Optegra were fantastic as I was so nervous. A nurse held my hand throughout and the team were really comforting and friendly, having a bit of a laugh to put me at ease.
“I love to travel and enjoy great holidays, exploring different cultures. We went to Bali recently and had an incredible hotel in the jungle; and now I can’t wait to travel more without the hassle of contacts! I can just enjoy amazing vision every day without even having to think about it, so it has massively improved my quality of life.”
Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire, in Whiteley, 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 34 eye hospitals and clinics 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 100,000 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