At 85, Oxfordshire man Colin Andrews had to put his active life on hold due to deteriorating vision. Far more than just his sight was affected, also his ability to drive, his independence and his hobbies were halted.
Colin explains: “I knew I had cataracts but was amazed at how quickly my vision got worse – my eyes were only just up to driving standard, and when playing golf it became difficult to see the ball in flight. But not long prior to that my optician told me my cataracts were at the level of a 55-year-old – and I am a lot older than that! I was then shocked how suddenly they deteriorated.
“The entire process has been life changing for me, and my one piece of advice for other people with cataract problems would be to have the procedure before it becomes absolutely essential, rather than when you really need it – I honestly had not realised how bad my sight had become and the impact it would have on my life.”
Colin, who has retired from a varied career from eight years in the Royal Air Force, to setting up his own successful office equipment business and then a computer service brokerage. On learning he needed surgery, he was alarmed at the waiting lists – it was a three month wait, even to get on the NHS waiting list.
“I have complete sympathy with the NHS and the huge pressures they have been under, but having waited around six months I really was getting desperate to fix my vision and so I opted to go privately. I was just getting too old to wait any longer!” he said.
After much research into alternatives,he opted for private cataract surgery at Optegra Eye Hospital Surrey, where Medical Director and ophthalmic surgeon Mr Amir Hamid oversaw his care.
Mr Hamid said: “Mr Andrews was clearly a gentleman who liked to live life to the full and, as can often happen with cataract, his poor sight was holding him back. His vision was such that he had to consider if he should give up driving.
“After discussion on his needs and lifestyle, we recommended he had bilateral Enhanced Toric Monofocal Lenses.These are a new class of lenses which although monofocal give excellent distance, intermediate and functional near vision. We are so pleased that he is delighted with the outcome.”
Since the surgery – where he had both eyes treated on one day – Colin now has 20/20 vision and not only has he re-joined the golf club, he is also doing an advanced driving course with the Institute of Advanced Motoring, and back behind the wheel of his beloved 30 year old Teal Bugatti – all hobbies he had to put on hold for two years due to his poor eyesight.
Colin says: “I am the sort of person who always needs a project, whether iron work, woodwork, even making stained glass windows. Though all of these slowed down rapidly when I could not see well enough. And I love to socialise – which was why having to give up golf was so hard for me.
“Since the op I have excellent vision again and it is not until you have the procedure that you truly realise how poor your vision had become.
“Within just a couple of days I could see colours in my garden that I did not even know existed. I even saw a partridge waddle in – my wife feeds everything in the garden – and could not believe it when I saw its tiny eyes blink from about five metres away!
“It’s wonderful, and I bore people to death telling them about it. And it is such a pleasure to be back playing golf, though I am certainly out of practise after a two-year break! But I have a personal discipline that keeps me going and so I’m at the driving range all the time now to try and improve.
Colin has been married for 63 years, has two daughters and three grandchildren. He is also enjoying driving his Teal Bugatti again which was constructed for him some 30 years ago, and he has toured over Europe on more than 20 occasions.
Cataract is the natural, age-related clouding of the lens of the eye and the only treatment is to remove that lens and replace it with an artificial one. Optegra offers both NHS cataract surgery with a standard lens, or Advanced Cataract Surgery for private patients where the lens can be tailored to suit the individual’s prescription and visual needs. Find out more at www.optegra.com/cataract
Optegra Eye Hospital are a nationwide provider of specialist ophthalmic services. The group comprises several eye hospitals and clinics across the UK bringing 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.
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