Dr John Bertram
When scientist Dr John Bertram was told he had a cataract in one eye and another beginning to form, he knew it was time to act. At 72, he wasn’t prepared to live behind a veil of clouded vision, so embarked on his own research to find a solution.
Dr Bertram, who has a PhD in electro-chemistry and is director of an educational support consultancy firm, discovered extended vision lenses would not only remove the cataract but improve his vision, ending his reliance on contact lenses.
He then discovered consultant ophthalmic surgeon Milind Pande’s international reputation in Advanced Refractive Cataract Surgery and made the 220-mile round trip to Vision Surgery and Research Centre in East Yorkshire from his home near Loughborough to improve his quality of life.
“I decided it was worth it,” Dr Bertram said. “It is your eyesight, after all. I would recommend it anyone considering surgery, without a doubt. I now have better than 20/20 vision and I no longer need glasses or contact lenses.”
Dr Bertram started wearing glasses for distance and reading around 20 years ago and took part in a trial for multi-focal contact lenses. He said: “As far as I was concerned, I had pretty good vision with the lenses. I wore them from about 7am to 11pm or midnight every day and it was fine.” However, last year, he noticed a cloudiness in his right eye and was told by an optician he had a cataract developing, with another starting to form in his weaker left eye.
Dr Bertram said: “I didn’t want to go down the route of having the basic cataract operation and still wearing contact lenses or glasses afterwards. “I did a lot of research and found out about extended vision lenses. Then, I found out about Mr Pande and although his clinic wasn’t exactly just around the corner, I decided it would be worth the journey.”
Dr Bertram underwent a thorough examination by Emily Proudfoot, one of the expert optometrists in Mr Pande’s team. “Emily was fantastic, a real asset to the team,” he said. “She answered all my questions without being patronising and she was so welcoming and approachable.”
The scientist underwent surgery on his right eye, where a bespoke replacement lens tailored to his exact prescription using complex algorithms and scientific formulae replaced his cloudy lens. Mr Pande, medical director of Vision Surgery and Research Centre, said people develop cataracts when the lens becomes cloudy as they grow older. Advanced Refractive Cataract Surgery will not only remove the cloudiness but improve vision by re-focusing the eye.
He said: “If we use the analogy of the camera for the eye, when the lens is scratched and dirty, we use the operation to change the lens and also refocus the camera. We refocus the camera by changing the lens.”
Within two days of his initial surgery in September, Dr Bertram knew it had been a success. “I was coming back to Hull for my post-operative check and when I walked out of my house, I could see the registration plate on my neighbour’s car and it was some distance away,” he said. “Not only was my vision pretty good, everything was brighter. I could see everything in my garden perfectly.”
Dr Bertram had achieved better than 20/20 vision in his right eye and he underwent surgery on his weaker second eye within weeks, completing his treatment by December. “Mr Pande told me it would continue to get better as my brain adapts to the new lenses,” he said. “I’m not sure how it could get much better.”
With a passion for major DIY projects including building extensions to his home in Woodhouse Eaves and building furniture, life is much easier and enjoyable for Dr Bertram these days. “The best thing was, one night I’d gone to bed and when I got to my bedroom, I realised I could see everything clearly, and initially thought I’d forgotten to take out my contact lenses,” he said. “Then I remembered that, no, this was my own eyesight now.”
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