Almost 10 years ago I developed an eye affliction (macula odema) which was controlled by daily drops of Pred Forte. I was warned at the time that the drops would cause cataracts to develop in each eye. Over a period of several years this duly came to happen.
After 5 years the cataract in my left eye was treated with the standard NHS lens which restored my sight to its original condition with some improvement in distance vision, though there was considerable flaring at night. The new lens took some months to completely settle.
The cataract in my right eye continued to progress and gradually became a nuisance as a shadowy form in my vision until a few months ago.
An optician’s review of my vision confirmed the presence of the cataract but, as I could still see through it through the semi-opaque mass sufficiently to drive, I was advised that I would probably not have a successful NHS referral and that I could wait some years for a resolution.
At the age of 72, my remaining years of sight are important and I reviewed the possibility of private treatment. A friend of similar age to myself needing a cataract replacement told me of his successful treatment with a toric lens. The toric lens not only removed the cataract it also corrected his distance vision and astigmatism.
At this point I contacted the Nuffield Hospital in Newcastle where I met my consultant Dr Ayad Shafiq.
After a wait of a few weeks I had an eye inspection by Dr Shafiq when he measured my eye and its various parameters. He clearly explained the procedure and how the toric lens was able to correct distance vision and astigmatism. I accepted his offer to proceed with the treatment.
A couple of weeks later I received the surgery. The Nuffield Hospital provided a pleasant environment with professional support.
Dr Shafiq understood that my previous eye issues could flare up again when the eye was attacked by surgery and prescribed a hefty dose of steroids to hold this back during several days before and after the operation. This proved to be completely successful though the effects of the steroids on my digestive system were less than pleasant!
I cannot pretend that open eye surgery while you are awake is pleasant. In fact it is one of my worst nightmares. Nevertheless it rolled by with an organised team managing things while Dr Shafiq inserted and adjusted the new lens. It was all over in 20 minutes. I left the operating theatre with a patch and a plastic cup over my eye. After a cup of tea and a sandwich I left the hospital and returned home.
The following morning I removed the patch. The light and colour were incredible though the image was not too clear.
As the day progressed and into the next day, the image settled and became sharp. This was amazing for me as during my whole life I had never been able to look at the world without glasses. The images were so sharp and so clear. I could see the seas on the moon; drive without glasses; watch my HD TV and see that it really was high definition; read subtitles on the screen. The downside was that I could see dirt on the carpets and wrinkles on the faces of my aging friends!
This whole venture has been an exciting revelation to me and I will be eternally grateful to Dr Shafiq for his expertise and experience in managing the process. He has a warm, approachable manner and he is obviously well liked in the department. I couldn’t have wanted better!
14 November 2017.