Cataract op that means I can throw my reading glasses away

Daily Mail 12/05/09

Cataract op that means I can throw my reading glasses away

How pioneering ‘double lens’ surgery transformed one woman’s life

Every year 400,000 Britons undergo cataract surgery, having the damaged lens in their eye replaced with a plastic one.
However, they often need reading glasses afterwards. Ann Edworthy, 50, a lecturer from Swansea, was one of the first to have a new ‘piggyback’ lens, which restores sight completely.

She tells Daily Mail’s CAROL DAVIS her story, and her surgeon explains the procedure.

The Patient

As a student, I used to suffer from really sore eyes after long spells of reading. My optician diagnosed congenital cataracts – a partial clouding over of the lens in both my eyes since birth. While I didn’t need any treatment then, he warned me they could cause sight problems later in life.

Two years ago, I noticed that when I looked at distant objects, it was as though there was a milky film on my left eye – I couldn’t see clearly, and it felt as if it was covered in cling film; I wanted to rub it all the time.

By chance, one of my students mentioned she’d been really happy with the treatment from a local eye surgeon. So, as I had private health insurance, I asked my optician for a referral to him. The surgeon, Mohammed Muhtaseb, explained that as well as the cataracts I’d had from birth, there was another cataract growing in my left eye, something that tends to happen with age.

He said he could operate to remove them, replacing each cloudy lens with a clear, artificial one. I’d have to choose which kind of replacement lens I wanted – one for reading or one for seeing at a distance. Whatever I chose, I’d have to wear glasses for the other. I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing glasses for the rest of my life. But I had no choice, as the cataracts meant I was now struggling to read, while in dim light I couldn’t see at all.

So last April I had operations to remove the cataracts and replace them with artificial lenses. Afterwards, I could see for miles because the cloudiness in my vision had gone. But I hated the reading glasses I had to use: when I was lecturing, I’d have to put them on to read, and then take them off to look at the students. Changing focus all the time made me feel queasy. Then, in October, Mr Muhtaseb told me about a brand-new lens – the piggyback, so-called because it is implanted on top of, and works in tandem with, existing artificial lenses, meaning I would be able to focus on both distant objects and close print.

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