For almost 20 years Steve Parrott had struggled to put up with short-sightedness, and his poor eyesight was becoming more of a nuisance every year. “I couldn’t watch TV, drive or read a computer screen without the aid of glasses or contact lenses,” says Steve, a lecturer in health economics at the University of York.
“I had a routine where I wore contact lenses if I was going out of the house but at home I wore glasses. This wasn’t ideal, though. When I went on holiday I couldn’t wear my contact lenses when I went swimming and I couldn’t see without them. The air-conditioning on holiday also made my eyes really uncomfortable. Within two minutes of going into an air-conditioned room, my contact lenses would dry out and be unbearable.”
Steve had been considering some sort of Laser Eye Surgery to improve his eyesight for years, but his optician Mr Philip Daniels had told him it was something he shouldn’t rush in to. “My optician was superb and until recently he advised me not to do anything as he wasn’t confident about the procedures available. He had had reservations, but in 2008 he said he knew of a consultant ophthalmologist who had achieved really amazing results and he thought it was now safe to go ahead,” explains Steve. The consultant was Mr Milind Pande at the Spire Hospital in Hull. After a comprehensive clinical and risk/benefit assessment, he recommended Blade Free Wavefront LASIK Laser Eye Surgery using the femtosecond laser.
He explained that in the old standard LASIK technique an instrument with a metal blade is used to cut a flap on the cornea under which the laser correction is performed. In the new procedure, there is no cutting involved as the flap is created using a femtosecond laser after which Wavefront laser correction is carried out. The procedure is now gentler as it is an all-laser, blade-free treatment, making it safer as well as providing better vision. It is this improved safety and results which prompted NASA to recommend this procedure for its astronauts.
“After considering my options carefully, six weeks later I had the procedure,” explains Steve. “The Laser Eye Surgery procedure was totally painless. As the anaesthetic wore off my eyes were streaming with water for three to four hours. I had been told about this so I was mentally prepared. The startling thing was the vision in my right eye was amazing straight away – I could read number plates at a distance. It took my other eye a little while to catch up but I now have a zero prescription and officially perfect eyesight.”
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