Case Study: Grace
As an award winning blogger with an eye for a good story, Grace doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to her vision issues.
“Blind as a bat!” is how she describes her pre-operation eyesight.
“I was totally dependent on my contact lenses and pebble-thick specs – without them I had only a very blurry, ethereal view of the world,” says the writer, whose day job involves running a popular online magazine for older women called Annabel & Grace.
“Wearing glasses with such thick lenses was not my idea of fun. They weren’t very flattering, to say the least. And my wearing time for contacts had been gradually reducing, too. My eyes were getting drier more quickly during the day.
“To make matters worse I had also started suffering from floaters. Floaters are tiny opacities in the vitreous of the eye. They feel a bit like having translucent grey worms swimming in your field of vision. They had crept up on me over the last few years, but I’d simply put up with them because I was told it was tricky to remove them. My right eye was particularly bad.”
Despite the obvious frustrations, Grace had more or less resigned herself to living with her vision issues. But that changed when she went for a routine optician appointment last year and was told that her eyes were also developing cataracts – which was a bit of a shock, to put it mildly.
“I had absolutely no inkling at all,” she explains. “I thought a cataract was an opaque membrane over an eyeball, and I knew I didn’t have that.
“After 50 years of viewing the world as an indistinct, blurry mess, it was pretty much a miracle…”Grace
“When I got the diagnosis, my mother said, ‘Oh you don’t need to worry. They can take years to develop and they need to be ripe before you can have them operated on.’ But my optician told me that the technology is so good these days that you can have cataracts sorted out as soon as they appear.
When Mr Luff examined Grace’s eyes, he confirmed that she had both early-stage cataracts and a “spectacular number of floaters” – but that he could treat both conditions with a combined cataract and vitrectomy procedure. The same operation would also be able to correct her short-sightedness.
“When I found out that the operation also meant I wouldn’t have to wear contacts or glasses anymore, it was a no-brainer,” she admits.
Understandably, Grace says she was quite nervous about the first operation on her right eye (eye surgery of this kind is commonly carried out on one eye first, before the other eye is operated on a week or two later). On the day, however, she was given a light sedative to help her relax.
“A tiny intravenous cannula was put into the back of my hand,” she explains, in the article she later penned for her website.
“I did not feel a thing except that, in a millisecond, the sedative hit home and I was very woozy and happily chatting (or was it mumbling?!) to the surgeon. Any anxiety I had completely disappeared… I could not see or feel anything during the operation[…]
“It took about 45 minutes to replace my lens and remove my floaters (vitrectomy). It felt more like 30 seconds. The next thing I was aware of was sitting in an armchair drinking a delicious cup of tea and feeling pleasantly groggy.”
After being given a protective patch to wear over her eye, Grace went home to recuperate. She was asked to take a course of eye drops for the next four weeks, and told to keep the patch on overnight. Peeling it off the next morning was, she admits, a slightly nerve-wracking experience! But the change was immediately apparent.
“I could see. And see clearly,” she recalls on her blog. “My eye was pretty bloodshot but there was no discomfort. After 50 years of viewing the world as an indistinct, blurry mess until I popped in my contact lenses each morning, this was pretty much a miracle as far as I was concerned.”
Returning for the second operation, Grace had none of the anxiety she’d felt first time round. The procedure on her left eye took only 10 minutes, and she was able to see perfectly afterwards.
Three months on, she says she still appreciates the freedom of being able to wake in the morning and see clearly, without having to reach for the lenses. Happily, she has even been able to dispense with the reading specs – good news for someone who spends so much of her time reading and writing.
“I was told originally that I’d need to keep using reading glasses, which I didn’t mind. However, after my two (painless) ops, I don’t even need reading glasses.”
Having taken the plunge on treatment for her vision issues, Grace is very happy to recommend the service to others.
“I was impressed by the set-up and by the professionalism and kindness of the staff,” she says of her experience. “I felt I was in very good hands.”
Annabel & Grace is an online magazine, predominantly aimed at women in their mid 30s and up. It covers everything from recipes and age-appropriate fashion to travel, cultural reviews and product recommendations. You can read more of Grace’s stories on the website, www.countrywives.co.uk. (Please note that Sapphire Eye Care is not responsible for the content of external websites.)