As UK Greengrocer of the Year, Andy Rafter knows a thing or two about quality and first-class customer service.
So, when his eyesight worsened and he started to rely more and more on his glasses, Andy sought out the help of leading consultant eye surgeon Milind Pande at Vision Surgery and Research Centre in East Yorkshire.
Now, four months later, Andy has better than 20/20 vision and will never develop cataracts after undergoing vision correction surgery.
“I feel like I’ve turned the clock back 20 years,” he said. “The difference in my eyesight is absolutely incredible and I could shout it from the rooftops.
“If someone has the means and is ‘umming and aahing’ about it, I would say to them to go ahead and do it because they will never regret it.”
Rafters of Driffield, owned by Andy and his wife Tracy, was named UK Greengrocer of the Year at the prestigious Farm Shop and Deli Awards 2017, and business is booming.
But Andy, 55, realised his vision was deteriorating when he spent more and more time in front of the computer dealing with online orders and the business’s social media platforms.
When his mother died in June, leaving him some money, Andy decided to spend it on something which would make a marked difference to his life.
“A few years ago, some friends of mine had been treated by Mr Pande and it stuck with me, the transformation they talked about,” he said. “I knew he was the best and here he was, almost on our doorstep.”
After a detailed examination and consultation, Mr Pande tailored bespoke lenses to suit Andy’s requirements, offering him the best possible vision without spectacles.
He underwent surgery on both eyes at the Spire Hospital in Anlaby and was impressed by the care and attention shown by Mr Pande and his team.
“I wondered why they didn’t operate on both eyes at the same time, as they often do at these high street places,” he said. “But it was explained to me that Mr Pande likes to make adjustments when he sees how the first eye responds.
“It’s those little tweaks that ensure it’s the best as it could possibly be rather than just ‘good enough’. That’s what you get when you go to Mr Pande.”
Andy knew surgery had been a success within hours of his first operation.
“I tell anyone who will listen that the operation is completely pain-free,” he said. “I had my glasses in my hand ready when I took off the bandage but I couldn’t believe how good my sight was.
“It was like someone had switched the lights on. I’d only had surgery a few hours before and yet my vision was that good already. And that was just with one eye.”
After his second operation a few weeks later, Andy is now reaping the benefits of excellent eyesight without the need for glasses, even for reading.
Having the surgery in his 50s means he’ll never develop cataracts, an inevitable part of the ageing process, because his new, bespoke lenses will last a lifetime.
He said: “It’s little things, like sitting four feet away from the computer screen and seeing every word on it to looking at the screen on my phone and being able to see who is calling me – all without specs.
“People see me without my glasses and think I’ve got contact lenses until I tell them, and I’ve recommended Mr Pande to two or three close friends already.
“If you can do it, then you must do it. There is absolutely nothing I could say that would put you off. The difference is incredible.”
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