Laura Cooper Headshot

All smiles as one of first Hampshire patients restores vision with latest technology

For Portsmouth lady, Laura Cooper, the daily frustration of glasses has led her to become one of the first local patients to have the latest generation laser eye surgery.

Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire has invested over a million pounds in the third generation SMILE – considered the ‘keyhole of laser eye surgery’ as advances in technology continue to improve surgical options.

Laura, aged 34, has worn glasses since junior school. But now that she is a mum to a two year old, who loves to grab her specs throughout the day, the frustration of glasses led her to consider treatment options.

She explains: “I could not see in the distance at all, but only over the past five years have I had to wear glasses constantly. Now that my little one thinks they are a brilliant plaything, I am constantly cleaning them and it’s so annoying!

“It was also hindering my time with her. I love to take her swimming but until now have had to choose between going in the water without glasses and not being able to see well enough, or wearing glasses in the pool but trying to keep them dry, which is pretty impossible.  This was one of the main prompts for me to have the treatment.”

Laura could not tolerate contact lenses, which has had an impact. Not least on her wedding day, as she explains:

“I had an extra of worry my wedding day because I refused to wear glasses down the aisle. But, my husband is an identical twin, and so I had to rely on mum, who walked me down the aisle, to make sure I walked up to the right brother!”

A colleague at the utilities company where she works had been to Optegra for treatment and told Laura it did not hurt and that she should not worry. So she went along to an open evening to find out more and decided to go for it.

She says: “I am so delighted I did. It was pain-free, quick and immediately I could see so much better than I have in years.

“My daughter was a little confused for a week or so though – she kept handing me my glasses saying ‘mummy, see’!”

SMILE stands for SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction and is the newest alternative to LASIK laser eye surgery where the surgeon has to create a small flap on the surface of the eye.

Consultant eye surgeon, Mr Robert Morris, from Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire in Whiteley says: 

“This latest 3rd generation  laser eye surgery is state of the art minimally invasive keyhole laser eye surgery – the laser creates a tiny incision  2 mm wide which heals naturally within 48 hrs, maintaining the strength of the eye, inducing less dry eye and avoiding the need for a flap, so there is less risk of future issues. 

“For Laura, whose little daughter likes to prod and poke, it offered a fast-healing treatment option, and we are all delighted with the results.”

Laura was told at her follow-up just the next day that she had 2020 vision. 

She says: “My daughter and I have gone from avoiding going out in the rain as I could not see through my glasses, to splashing in puddles and having great fun!

Optegra Eye Hospital Hampshire, based in Whitely is part of Optegra Eye Health Care which operates 23 international eye hospitals and clinics. The hospital group brings together leading edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes for the A to Z of eye health care.


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