Washington woman on 10-minute cataract surgery that transformed her eyesight

After postponing cataract surgery due to Covid fears in hospitals for the past two years, Angela Nichols had seen her eyesight deteriorate dramatically.

But, after her first operation – which took place at the Optegra Clinic on the Team Valley Trading Estate – the Washington woman explained how she “sees life much more clearly now” and how the 10-minute operation changed her life. Angela, 68, is a retired language teacher, and with her eyesight now much improved, she is looking forward to getting back on the road and traveling again.

She told ChronicleLive of her experience having what are known as “white cataracts” removed – meaning almost all light was blocked from reaching her eyes – profoundly affecting her vision.

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“I tended to think that I was getting more and more myopic,” she said. “Despite being told my cataract was large, I was nervous about going to hospital as the number of Covid cases in our area was high, so I waited. But it really affected my vision I had another appointment and was told that my cataract really needed to be sorted out ASAP – and if I didn’t my eyesight wouldn’t be good enough good for driving.”

Having already limited her driving – she has not driven at night for two years – she was willing to wait for an appointment, but aware of the long NHS delays in eye care. However, the new clinic is one of the ways the NHS hopes to reduce waiting times, and Angela’s optometrist was able to refer her directly. Within two days of her appointment, she was contacted by Optegra and the first operation took place within a month.

She is now preparing for her second operation – and once it’s over and her vision is restored, Angela, who is an avid member of the choir and part of the local U3A group, is delighted to be back on the road. She added: “It was within a month of my test that I had the first operation. It was amazing but I’m still waiting for the second operation so it’s still a bit difficult at the moment, but I see perfectly out of the eye that has been done.

“To be honest, the waiting room is a bit like a first-class lounge in an airport. They make you feel comfortable. It only takes about ten minutes for the operation – and everything you need are aware is that you are looking at a very bright light. I think my family thought I would suffer a bit of post-op trauma afterwards, but I was back to normal very quickly!”

Angela also spoke about how her vision problems interfered with day-to-day life and she was amazed at the results of the operation.

“Over the past two years, I have been aware that seeing in the distance is becoming problematic,” she said. “For example, when you’re at an airport and you look up and notice you can’t really make out the departures board or at the central station and you’ve had to walk closer and closer to check the time. of my train.

“Even being able to make out faces in the distance was difficult. During the lockdown, when we were working a lot, I would see someone coming towards me and it wasn’t until they got closer that I realized it was pretty close. friend. You don’t realize how much vision you’ve lost until it’s been corrected – that’s a pretty weird thing!”

Trying to describe the difference she noticed almost immediately, Angela said her “head was spinning like a bird” at how amazing the world was.

“I can see life much more clearly now,” she added. “Life seems improved and it’s wonderful, and I can see the color green much more vividly. For the future, I was a language teacher and I traveled a lot, that’s one of the things which I most look forward to being able to do again when the world has recovered.”

Usman Mahmood, is the consultant who performed Angela’s operation. He said: “Since we opened this NHS clinic we have had a rush of cataract patients who are so relieved to finally have their treatment. Surgery is the only option and without it vision will continue to deteriorate – just as Ms. Nichols has found.

“We have a contract with the local NHS Trust, which means we are able to treat even more local people who have been on a waiting list for so long, due to pressure on local services due to the pandemic.

“The whole team derives such joy from improving the vision and quality of life for so many local people.”

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