How eye surgery led to relief from my arthritis

Christine WilleyFor Christine Willey, from Bingley, West Yorkshire, recent eye surgery to improve her vision and remove cataracts has led to a surprising response. Not only does she now have perfect vision, the treatment has also dramatically improved the aches and pains caused by years of arthritis.

Having worn glasses or contact lenses since the age of eight for short-sight, Christine’s eyes have deteriorated with age, as her lenses naturally hardened meaning that her long-distance vision was also affected. On top of this she had astigmatism and cataracts in both eyes.

As well as struggling with her eye-sight, Christine has suffered from arthritis pains in her back, pelvic area, feet and hands for the past 10 years. Little did she realize that her eye treatment would go on to help with that problem too!

A retired modern languages teacher, Christine, aged 70, enjoys a number of hobbies which depend upon strong vision – from painting watercolour painting, to sewing, reading, wildlife watching, photography and playing bridge.

She explains: “So many of my hobbies rely on excellent vision and I was getting so fed up with varifocal glasses and with blurry vision from cataracts. I had worn contact lenses for around 30 years, but my eyes became too dry to tolerate them. A friend of mine at Bridge Club had recently had Clarivu at Optegra, and I was so thrilled to see her glasses-free, I made an appointment for my consultation with her surgeon, Mr. Shafiq Rehman, straight away!

“I was delighted to find out I was suitable for Clarivu, a chance to correct my vision and get rid of my cataracts all in one procedure. However, within two days of taking the eye drops following the procedure, I noticed that all my normal aches and pains had disappeared! Before my eye surgery I was feeling like a creaky old woman, and was even struggling to get up the stairs.

“I could not believe it – it seems that one of the eye drops contains a mild steroid, which has not only worked on my eyes, but also on my arthritis! There has been a massive improvement in my symptoms ever since!”

As well as her general aches and pains, Christine has suffered with blepharitis for the past 10 years, and the combination of antibacterial and steroid drops following her eye procedure have also helped this condition. She explains: “Blepharitis is a bacterial condition which causes inflammation and swelling of my eyelids, and so the drops are also keeping that at bay at the moment – I could not be more delighted!”

Christine’s cataracts were making her vision blurry, and leaving a yellow ‘wash’ over colours. Since Clarivu, a treatment where the ageing natural lens of the eye is permanently replaced by a technically advanced IntraOcular Lens (IOL), she can see with much greater clarity.

Christine said: “I have not had to wear glasses ever since my treatment, even for sewing and other close up work. I love that colours are so much clearer now. I particularly noticed the difference when one eye had been treated but not the other.”

A long-term wearer of glasses, Christine also helped to pioneer hard contact lenses in the UK. As a 19 year old student in London, she was part of an early trial to introduce hard contact lenses in the UK. Christine describes: “A special deal was available for students to trial these contact lenses, and I was glad to be free of my glasses – I tolerated them very well, wearing them constantly, all day long. That was the start of my relationships with contacts, which I went on to wear for 30 years!”

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Shafiq Rehman, from Optegra Yorkshire Eye Hospital, said: “Mrs Willey’s was a very interesting case as her eyes had many different challenges from being both short and long sighted, to astigmatism, dry eyes and cataracts. Clarivu permanent lens replacement was the ideal solution for her, as we removed her hardened lens which were clouding with early cataracts and replaced them with a tailored intra-ocular lens. However, we had not anticipated the fantastic outcome in terms of her arthritis also.

“The post-op eye drop regime led to a remarkable improvement in her arthritis symptoms. She had been really struggling before hand, and so we have now informed her GP that even the ultra-low low dose of corticosteroid in our standard eye-drop regime appears to have had a major positive impact in her arthritis, we hope that this could open up other avenues of arthritis control for Mrs Willey in the future”.

Christine, who has been married since 1968, describes Clarivu as “life enhancing” and a procedure which has not only improved her vision and arthritis, but also her confidence, as she feels she can now enjoy life without glasses.

“Clarivu” is the brand name used exclusively by Optegra, for its individually tailored vision correction (Refractive Lens Exchange – RLE) package. The package includes; all diagnostic eye assessments, an advanced technology intraocular lens (IOL), specifically chosen for the lifestyle and visual goals of the patient by their Optegra consultant ophthalmic surgeon at their consultation, the procedure undertaken in an Optegra eye hospital and all post-operative care.


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