600th patient receives NHS cataract surgery at Optegra Eye Clinic Maidstone
Frittenden lady, Cathy Watson, has always loved reading, even from childhood. But in recent years the crime and historical fiction book pages she enjoys have become cloudier, and she felt she was always looking through glasses which needed cleaning.
But that has all changed as she became the 600th patient to receive NHS cataract surgery at the newly opened five-star Optegra Eye Clinic Maidstone based in Kings Hill.
The new clinic – which only treats NHS cataract patients – has been praised by local MP Tom Tugendhat, who said:
“Across the country there are long waiting lists for cataract treatment, so to have a local clinic in Kings Hill serving residents within just a few weeks of referral is excellent. It was a pleasure to visit and meet the staff, and I look forward to the clinic continuing to help so many across West Kent.”
Cathy, 67, has always enjoyed excellent vision and had not had an eye test for many years. In fact her first pair of low prescription glasses were only prescribed five years ago. So having recently attended an optician after a four-year gap she was shocked to be told she had cataracts in both eyes, one of which was particularly severe; “I felt almost blind in that eye” she said.
Cathy felt the cataract had come on very quickly, having had such good vision all her life, and that it was also affecting her balance. As she already has a medical condition affecting her mobility, she was worried about falling as she was tending to use her better eye more than the other but this was making her unsteady on her feet. With four small dogs at home, this was a concern.
To her great surprise, she was referred to the newly opened Optegra Eye Clinic Maidstone – where she was phoned within days of referral for her pre-op tests appointment and then given a date within a couple of weeks for her first surgery.
“It is nothing short of a miracle – I would never have believed my vision could be this clear. It was like a fog lifting. And the colours! It is amazing! Also, my balance seems so much better since the op.”
Cathy, who is a retired special needs teaching assistant, was particularly anxious about the procedure. And so the news that she did not have long to wait for treatment was welcomed. She said:
“I was so worried about the procedure and imagining all sorts of horrible things – it was such a relief to get an appointment so quickly as it meant I had less time to worry about it all!
“On the day I was a bag of nerves but I cannot praise the staff at Optegra more highly – they literally could not have done more for me. I don’t know how but they managed to calm me down, settle me, even holding my hand throughout. And before I knew it, it was all done! I could not believe it and was so relieved!”
Within just a few days Cathy’s vision was transformed. “I feel as though I have gone from watching life on an old television to now having ultra-HD. It is fantastic! While I cannot get out much, my reading is so much easier, and I can enjoy the colours in my garden so much more.”
Aine Rice, optometrist at Optegra Eye Clinic Maidstone, said: “It is important to have regular eye tests, to keep on top of eye health and also to spot any complications early. For Cathy her cataract in the one eye was really quite severe, and so by removing that and replacing it with an artificial lens, we have been able to really improve her quality of life.
“Cataract surgery is a very fast procedure, and pain free so we would encourage local people to ask for referral – we can help make a huge difference to quality of life.”
Optegra Eye Clinic Maidstone purely offers NHS cataract surgery. For treatment within just weeks ask your local optician or GP to refer you to Optegra.
Cathy said: “I know it is daunting and we can be anxious about our eyes but please don’t worry. There is no pain, no discomfort and the staff are absolutely brilliant, I cannot speak too highly of them. Please don’t hold back but get it done as quickly as possible.”
Optegra Eye Clinic Maidstone is part of Optegra Eye Health Care and is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services. Established in 2007, it has completed over one million eye procedures from its 31 eye hospitals and clinics across the UK, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.
Optegra brings together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment. It performs more than 120,000 treatments annually, both private and publicly funded. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes and great patient service.
Tel: 0800 077 3272