While Paula Sides, 30, from Hebden Bridge is a successful and recognized soprano with the English Touring Opera, she has always struggled with long-distance vision. Her days of relying on contacts ended with an accident, and led to her choosing laser eye surgery at Optegra Leeds Laser Eye Centre, which she says has resulted in “magic eyes”.
Having worn glasses or contacts for 20 years, Paula relies on excellent vision for her work, to see the conductor, especially in low lighting, and to read her fellow singers’ facial expressions. But work in London and travelling on the Victoria Line led to her getting metal dust caught under her contact lens, which resulted in A&E treatment, a scratched cornea, and a week in darkness.
Paula explains: “After a whole week in discomfort, and in fact in darkness, I knew that contacts were no longer an option for me. I just could not rely on them. I perform opera at least three times a week and never knew if they were going to let me down, and then having this accident on the tube really triggered me to look into alternatives.”
Her clear option was to consider laser surgery, something her father had done and fully recommended. Paula said: “I have a lot of doctors in my family, so when I asked their advice, the main thing was to get the best. They said, don’t seek out a deal but go for the best possible. These are my eyes after all and I do not want to risk anything! And then making sure there is excellent after care. I found all of this, and so much more, with Optegra.”
After much research of local options, Paula made the decision to have LASIK laser surgery at Optegra Leeds Laser Eye Centre in the heart of the city centre. “I was over-whelmed with the staff, from the reception to nurses to my consultant, they were all wonderful! They gave me such confidence and I felt so relaxed in their totally professional hands. They explained everything so clearly, showed by the equipment, which was more advanced than other places I had visited, and answered all my questions.
“The day after my procedure, I could see so well, it was really so cool! I could read at long distance for the first time in two decades, and have even better than 20/20 vision. In fact my husband, who has no problems with his vision, can’t see as well as me, and often asks me to read things to him with my ‘magic eyes’!”
Paula sings with the English Touring Opera, and is currently on tour performing Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Donizetti’s The Seige of Calais, which will come to Yorkshire later this year. She loves reading, walking on the Moors and hopes to take up running once the snow thaws – a spring project!
Paula’s surgeon, Mr Kobus Pauw, explains the procedure she had: “After a thorough examination, we advised Paula to have LASIK laser eye surgery, which uses latest computer technology in a fast, painless and completely blade-free procedure. A laser is used to reshape the cornea, the front of the eye, to change its focusing power to improve sight. It can correct both long and short sighted vision to result in clearer, sharper vision – and, as Paula is enjoying – no more hassle from glasses or contacts.”
Laser eye surgery is the most commonly performed elective procedure in the world today. Various types of laser eye surgery are available at Optegra Leeds Laser Eye Centre, and an initial consultation will allow a surgeon to give advice on the most suitable vision correction surgery for you.
Optegra Leeds Laser Eye Centre is near City Square in the heart of Leeds City Centre, just 200 meters from Leeds Railway Station.
For more information please visit www.optegra.com or call 0800 358 0825 FREE.