Gazing out across the crystal-clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Joan Stephens saw everything in sharp focus for the first time in decades. At 83, Mrs Stephens is enjoying every minute of life with perfect vision after undergoing eye surgery carried out by leading consultant ophthalmic surgeon Milind Pande.
For years, the Cleethorpes grandmother-of-four saw the world through a sepia tint after developing cataracts, an age-related condition affecting people as they grow older. But after undergoing cataract surgery with new lenses fitted in both eyes, Mrs Stephens has just returned from a Mediterranean cruise and is living life to the full.
She said: “The reason I hadn’t done it before was my husband was very ill and needed hands-on care, before I lost him at the end of November. But, this year, I knew I had to get on with it and get a life so that’s what I did.”
Mrs Stephens had worn contact lenses to correct her short-sightedness for many years but realised her vision was getting worse. She sought the advice of her son who, like his father, worked as an optician and he recommended Mr Pande, medical director of Vision Surgery and Research Centre in East Yorkshire with an international reputation for excellence in the field of vision correction surgery. Using the latest techniques, Mr Pande was able to tailor new lenses to improve her vision, removing the cataracts in her eyes at the same time. Mr Pande, who has more than 30 years’ clinical and surgical experience, said the crystalline lens in the eye works like a camera zoom lens but becomes cloudy as people grow older.
“Almost everyone gets a cataract”, he said. “It is only a matter of time. We removed and replaced the crystalline lenses for Mrs Stephens but, in Advanced Refractive Cataract Surgery, we can also work out all the focusing changes we need to make to get patients better vision at the same time.”
At Spire Hospital in Anlaby, Mrs Stephens underwent surgery to replace her lenses and correct her vision in April and May 2016. “I was apprehensive but I think everyone is and it was fine, she said. I didn’t want a general anaesthetic but it was done under local anaesthetic and I didn’t feel a thing.”
Mr Pande operated on Mrs Stephen’s first eye and, after close monitoring, she returned for surgery on the second eye a few weeks later. She said: “After the first eye, I couldn’t wear glasses or my contact lenses but I knew it had made a difference. I could see people across the street although I couldn’t distinguish their faces properly before I had the second eye done. But when I had the second operation, I could see so clearly. Everything was just so bright. I went to visit my daughter-in-law and I thought she had bought some new artificial flowers because I’d always thought the old ones were orange. But when I asked her about them, she told me they were the same ones but I realised they were pink. Now, I look at my skirts and they’re a completely different colour to what I thought they were. I think, oh crikey, I wore that skirt with that top and they didn’t even go together.”
Mrs Stephens has perfect vision for driving now and has no hesitation in recommending Mr Pande to anyone considering cataract surgery. She said: “I always say you can’t take a chance when it comes to your health. If you’re going to spend your money, spend it on the best. Mr Pande was so pleasant and he speaks to you, not at you. His entire team were just so helpful friendly and professional. I would say to anyone considering it – just go for it.”
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