Identical twins Judy Morgan, from Drayton, Portsmouth, and Jill Bowcott, from Nailsea, North Somerset, have always been incredibly close and more than happy to share the same features, interests and experiences. However, when deteriorating eyesight and developing cataracts joined the list of things they had in common, the 74 year olds decided that enough was enough!
Diagnosed with cataracts, both sisters chose to have ClarivuTM permanent lens replacement procedures at Optegra Solent Eye Hospital. This procedure meant their cataracts were removed and because they chose to have an advanced lens, they are now also free of all glasses. Both sisters are now enjoying crystal clear vision – even Jill who has worn glasses since the age of one.
The twins are now embracing a bright and busy retirement free of cataracts, contact lenses and glasses.
For retired music teacher Judy, living life through a cloudy haze was simply not an option. She said: “I have worn contacts for 30 years, but for the past 18 months I could no longer see clearly. I’m a keen golfer and because of the cataract I couldn’t see the ball in the distance, which was most frustrating. I also knit for charity, sew, crochet and play the piano. These detailed activities need clear vision and it was simply awful that I no longer had this. The cataract was also affecting everyday things, such as driving, and I knew I had to do something about it and quickly.”
As Judy’s cataract was in the early stages she was turned away for treatment by the NHS. However, unwilling to wait for the condition to worsen, she took up her optician’s recommendation and contacted Optegra Solent Eye Hospital. At an open evening she met ophthalmic surgeon Mr David Anderson and learnt about the potential to also be free of glasses and contacts by having the Clarivu procedure. Judy was so impressed that she signed up for treatment there and then.
“Mr Anderson was excellent and explained everything so clearly and reassuringly. I knew straight away that it was definitely the right thing for me to do. The procedure is nothing short of a miracle. After the first eye was done I could see perfectly. The cataract had gone and I had better than 20/20 vision. I simply couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t wait to tell my sister to do it! I won’t lie, I was nervous before the procedure but it was a quick, completely painless and relaxed experience”
For twin sister Jill Bowcott, the thought of life without glasses was only ever a dream. Having worn glasses from the age of one, due to a squint and complex vision, they were part of her.
She explains: “Throughout my childhood and adult life, I had never known what good eye sight was, and that was just the way it was. I wore glasses all the time as I simply couldn’t see without them. In my 50s my vision deteriorated further with age and I needed terribly thick and horrible bifocal lenses. I did pay extra for thinner lenses but the balance was never right, which was so frustrating.”
Like her twin, Jill was a keen pianist and crafter, but playing the piano was most difficult as looking at the music and then the keys needed different vision. Close sewing and knitting work also made her eyes ache. The onset of cataract was making matters worse and driving at night was becoming dangerous.
“Everything was basically harder because of my complex vision but I simply accepted it. I had seen adverts for surgery but always dismissed them as not right for me. When my sister told me about her procedure and how talented Mr Anderson was, I decided to book a consultation. Mr Anderson explained that my eyes were more complex than Judy’s, but to my joy, he said he could help me and I didn’t hesitate.
“I no longer need glasses and the cataract has gone! Mr Anderson also corrected my astigmatism. I have a new pair of eyes! It’s incredible and wonderful. It’s also overwhelming. Having spent 73 years behind a pair of glasses it’s most peculiar not to have them on anymore. I don’t feel dressed without them but I’m definitely getting used to it and I won’t be looking back. My life has completely changed. It’s like seeing the world in HD.”
Mr Anderson, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra Solent Eye Hospital, said: ”I’m delighted to have been able to offer these sisters the very best that modern Clarivu permanent lens replacement surgery has to offer and that this has resulted in vision which has enabled them to continue to lead such active and interesting lives. In the last twenty years of performing intra-ocular lens surgery, I believe that we are now in an area of unsurpassed safety and performance which is extremely rewarding for me as an Ophthalmic Surgeon”.
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