Ask a patient: Betty’s cataract treatment
16 March 2021
Fast track cataract surgery
At Optimax, we offer more than just laser eye surgery. We also offer a range of lens surgery treatments, one of which is cataract surgery. A cataract occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy and proteins clump together within the lens. It starts as dimmed colour vision and difficulty seeing in dim lighting, progressing to impairing vision completely, if left untreated.
Cataracts tend to affect people in their 60s and beyond, becoming more common with each passing year. Cataracts impact more than 70% of people aged over 80 and cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery worldwide. It’s also considered one of the safest surgeries by the World Health Organisation, having been performed hundreds of millions of times globally! In surgery, the old clouded lens is extracted from the eye and is replaced with a new artificial lens, restoring clear vision again.
Cataract surgery is available on the NHS but the waiting lists can be very long. This often means that people’s vision is bad enough for them to be counted as legally blind by the time their surgery date arrives. Cataracts cause gradual deterioration of vision over a number of months or years so even if you can still see sufficiently well enough when you join the waiting list, you might not even be legally allowed to drive within a few months.
Betty's experience at Optimax
Liz, clinic manager of Optimax Newton Abbot, knew that her mum needed cataract treatment as soon as possible. Her mother, Betty, is in her early 80s and had been waiting for her cataract surgery for around a year on the NHS, with her vision worsening over time. Betty was initially given a surgery date in March 2020 and, unfortunately, COVID-19 led to thousands of NHS surgeries being cancelled. Betty’s cataract treatment was one of those cancelled procedures last year, and she’s still waiting for a rescheduled surgery date.
Liz had previously offered her parents the option of having private treatment at Optimax to bypass the NHS waiting list, but they were reluctant to “bother her at work”! She eventually persuaded them to attend a consultation with Optimax in early January at our Newton Abbot clinic. Betty, accompanied by her husband, met with Dr Ayoubi who confirmed that cataracts were present in both eyes, and recommended that she have bilateral treatment.
One week later, Betty had a face to face surgeon assessment as this was her preferred method of speaking with the surgeon. Many members of the older generation are not comfortable with using computers so, although we have been conducting surgeon assessments via Zoom in the pandemic, we can also accommodate older patients who might need to see their surgeons in person.
Dr Liyanage performed Betty’s cataract surgery. She told us “he was very kind and patient and answered my questions thoroughly”. Her husband was also present during the consent and assessment appointments to act as a second set of ears. Betty’s first surgery date was confirmed for 25th January. If cataract surgery is required in both eyes, we always conduct it across two separate appointments a week apart. This is to minimise the risk of infection and, in the rare case of any severe adverse reaction on the first eye, allows us to take all relevant precautions to protect your vision. For this reason, Betty’s second eye surgery was scheduled for 8th February.
In Betty’s own words, her cataract surgery was “quick, painless and not a bother”. The following day, she said that everything was brighter in colour and more defined. She was also able to read a newspaper without any reading glasses for the first time in years, as well as watching TV easily.
Our Newton Abbot clinic has wheelchair access and blue badge parking at the front of the clinic for easy access, which was perfect for Betty. She also appreciated the chair lift within the clinic. We’re currently operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19, in order to safely distance our patients in the waiting areas on treatment days. Betty told us “isn’t the clinic quiet? The reception area is large and patients are spread out nicely”, as well as noting that the process was “all organised very well”. Betty’s husband also commented “the coffee and biscuit was a bonus” whilst he was waiting for her!
Booking your cataract surgery
If you or someone in your life needs cataract surgery, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Optimax. We can usually have you booked in for a consultation within a couple of weeks of you first enquiring and treatment tends to take place around a month from your initial consultation appointment.
Don’t delay your cataract surgery. Your vision will have gradually deteriorated over time from when the cataract first formed, so it’s likely that you might not even realise how bad it has become until you have your surgery with us. We can be reached by phone on 0800 093 1110, or you can book your appointment online here.
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