For the head of The Pampered Chef® in the UK, while business is going from strength to strength, vision has always been a challenge. Describing herself as never being able to see properly and having to wear glasses since the age of just two, Chris Fenna, has now had revolutionary eye treatment which she describes as “life changing”.
Chris, aged 62, is Vice President and Managing Director Europe of The Pampered Chef®, heading a team of 2,500 independent consultants in the UK alone. A career-woman at heart, Chris loves to present and lead the company from success to success but has always battled with her vision.
A hard contact lens wearer for 45 years, and glasses wearer for 60 years, her sight was so poor she has even had to wear both glasses and contacts simultaneously. Chris explains: “My eyes have always been long-sighted and my prescription is so strong that I cannot actually wear glasses or contact lenses of the full strength, as it makes me feel sick and I feel I am going to fall over. So my prescription has been made slightly less, a ‘plus 11’ rather than a ‘plus 13’ as that is as much as I could tolerate. But then, even with that, I could not read! So I have had to wear contact lenses as well as glasses – or sometimes if my eyes were too tired for contacts, I wore two pairs of glasses stacked on top of each other just to read my computer and Blackberry!”
A large part of Chris’ work is presenting, both to smaller groups and on stage at conferences; a confident lady, she felt her image was distracted if putting glasses on and off to read the autocue, so she had to ensure it was large enough to see. And when filming for business footage, a colleague had to stand nearby with the script written in large lettering.
Chris explains her trigger for having her eye treatment now: “I take my husband to Optegra Surrey Eye Hospital for annual checks as he has diabetes, and last time I was there I saw the banner and leaflets about Ruth Langsford having Clarivu. It all struck a chord – a professional lady whose ‘presentation’ was becoming distracted with glasses on and off, struggling to read the autocue etc. I am not in the public eye, however I feel it is very important that in my role, I present the right image, and here was a solution.
“I have never been a fan of eye wear. From being called ‘four eyes’ as I wore my small pink national health glasses at school, to wearing contact lenses which became scratchy throughout the day as my eyes got tired. And the hassle of putting them in and out several times a day – by eight at night I would just give up and go back to glasses, which were so heavy because of my prescription. I was eager to be free of all of that and so pleased to have discovered a procedure that could help.”
A free consultation with Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Optegra, Mr Rob Morris, revealed that Chris’ eyes were suitable for ClarivuTM permanent lens replacement. ClarivuTM is Optegra’s exclusive refractive lens exchange (RLE), a procedure that involves a surgeon replacing the eye’s natural lens with a new, permanent, and technically advanced Intra Ocular Lens (IOL). This could provide the additional focusing power previously provided by glasses or contact lenses for both distance and reading.
Mr Morris, who is also Medical Director at Optegra, explains: “Chris had quite tricky eyes in that her prescription was very strong, but also that her eyes were smaller than average, but we were confident that Clarivu could make a real difference to her.
“In fact she now has 20:20 vision and for the first time in 60 years, can enjoy her work and home life without constant glasses or contact lenses.”
For Chris, the procedure has been life-changing. She explains: “I was so dependent on glasses and contacts, for such a long time – I could not even leave my bed without putting glasses on first. To do that for 60 years, and then one day to have a 20 minute procedure with an incredibly talented surgeon…well I truly found it humbling.
“The procedure itself was so straight forward and I asked Mr Morris to talk me through every step of the way, which I loved. I like to know what is coming next! There was no pain at all, and the results are amazing – I think the man is a pure genius!
“I am loving that my eyes look bigger and they are white now, not blood-shot, which is great! The Clarivu procedure is actually amazing.”
The Pampered Chef® launched in America in 1980 by founder and chairman, Doris Christopher, is the premier direct seller of essential kitchen tools and has been helping families prepare quick, delicious meals. Chris was invited to launch the company in the UK in 1999, shortly followed by Germany. Responsible for the strategic direction of the company in both markets, Chris has worked in the industry for 45 years and was recently inducted into the Direct Selling Association Hall of Fame, being only the ninth recipient in 45 years.
Chris says business life is easier since Clarivu – from being able to read the computer screen to flying long and short haul, as she can now see to do everything without glasses.
Chris, who has two children, two step children and four grandchildren, enjoys many hobbies outside of work, including travel, theatre and playing tennis. Of course food is a passion and she and her husband David love to entertain and cook together – while enjoying Pampered Chef cookware of course! Her favourite products are the stoneware and bamboo ranges.