Six minutes of surgery gives South Shields resident her life back

4 April 2023

Life-changing moments can happen in mere minutes, and that’s exactly the case for South Shields lady Jane Wyatt when surgery restored the vision she thought was lost forever.

Facing a number of challenges including a very high and complex prescription of -13.5 and floaters disturbing her vision, and with medical tests revealing the walls of her eyes were thinner than usual, Jane had been told by previous clinicians that surgery was not suitable for her.

A visit to Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle for a second opinion changed all of that for Jane, aged 53.

Having been told the only solution was ever-stronger glasses to help improve her vision she was told to hold off on cataract surgery, but was frightened as felt she was going blind.

She says, “I have been wearing glasses since the age of seven and, with a very strong prescription of -13.5 in my left eye and -9 in my right, the lenses were incredibly thick. It always made me feel self-conscious.

“Although I was told two years ago that I had cataracts, they weren’t affecting my vision too much. Last year however, I was struggling to see the computer screen at work which is a big issue as I take minutes, so really need very clear vision.

“I even had to stop driving as did not feel confident on the road, and my hobbies of knitting, reading and embroidery were becoming more challenging.  My poor vision was starting to affect so many different aspects of my life.”

Jane lives by herself and felt that her increasingly limited vision was making her world feel very small. “Everything was darker, both physically and metaphorically. I didn’t feel able to make plans and my life felt very narrow. My glasses were no longer giving me the clear vision I had previously enjoyed and when I went to the opticians to replace them, the computer would not accept my prescription – it was too strong! I really felt that I’d hit a brick wall and had nowhere to turn.”

Fortunately, Jane’s optometrist referred her to Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle as, although she had previously been told that she was unsuitable for cataract surgery, he felt that a second opinion would be useful given there were no other options for her at this stage.

“I couldn’t believe it when they told me they could do the surgery,” said Jane. “What’s more, I had a phone call 15 minutes after returning home from my initial consultation to say they had a cancellation for the next day, so I didn’t even have long to think about it.”

Mr Usman Mahmood, consultant surgeon at Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle said: “Mrs Wyatt had an extremely strong prescription and very dense cataracts. The cataracts were seriously impacting her day-to-day activities. Although she was at a higher risk because of her very long eyeballs, extremely dense, hard cataracts and thin sclerae, we were able to successfully remove both cataracts and provide her with the vision she deserves. It was a pleasure to treat her and we are delighted that we have made such a positive impact on her life.”

Jane says, “I can’t fault Optegra – everyone was so welcoming and friendly, I felt like I was the most important person in the clinic. Since the surgery, I have felt confident to drive again and I don’t need to look through thick glasses.

“I was unable to see into the future before and now I am excited to be making plans again. On a scale of 1 to 10 it’s a 50, they even make a good cup of tea! They have given me my life back and I will be forever grateful.”

Jane was so affected by the difference in her own vision that she immediately made a donation to a charity called CBM UK which will enable someone in either Africa or India to access much-needed cataract surgery which will improve their lives too.

Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle 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, Poland and Slovakia.

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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