Photographer hails life-changing cataract surgery for restoring his sight
A PHOTOGRAPHER who developed cataracts in his 50s says he now has a new lease of life following £6,000 treatment.
Paul Fenwick, of Grimsby, has worn glasses since the age of 12 when he was diagnosed with short-sightedness.
Through his teenage years he recalls buying a new pair of glasses every few months as his eyesight would change so much.
However, over the past few years he began to struggle as his vision deteriorated further – a visit to the optician revealed he was suffering with cataracts – a condition which usually only starts to affect people in their 70s.
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Cataracts are common, and are cloudy patches in the lens that can make vision blurred or misty.
Mr Fenwick, 57, was also told he had larger than average eyeballs of 28mm instead of a standard 24mm which not only resulted in short-sightedness but also caused a stretched retina which previously led to small tears across its surface.
His optician suggested he see Milind Pande, a consultant eye surgeon at the Vision Surgery and Research Centre in Hull.
"I had thought about vision correction surgery before and after the cataract diagnosis, I did not think twice," Mr Fenwick said.
"I always assumed I would have to travel far, but I was delighted to be referred to Milind Pande in East Yorkshire."
He was recommended advanced refractive cataract surgery whereby Mr Fenwick's own lenses were removed and replaced with a bespoke combination of powerful lenses to correct his vision.
His sight was measured using Mr Pande's own vision measurement technique called Panfocal Vision.
It involves measuring a patient's vision at distances needed for a range of everyday tasks including reading a book, newspaper, mobile phone, using an iPad, to watching TV and driving.
Mr Fenwick said: "In mid November I visited the Hull centre to have my first eye done.
"I was put under general anaesthetic and woke up with no pain. I was given three different eye drops to take each day for a month and the eye healed perfectly.
"Mr Pande said for the first few days my eye would feel "gritty" but it only felt as bad as having an eyelash on it.
"I had my other eye done in January – the process took half a day each time."
As well as his passion for photography, Mr Fenwick, a father-of-two, also works full-time as a cereal pathologist with a plant breeding and seed development company.
Part of his work includes inspecting wheat and barley for signs of disease and his new vision means his work is so much easier.
He said: "I feel as though I have been given the eyes of a 21-year-old.
"My vision had deteriorated over time to such a point that I didn't realise the colours I could see were dull and lifeless.
"Since my eye surgery, colours are so vibrant and crystal clear.
"I can definitely say that for me, the results have been life-changing."
Despite the treatment costing Mr Fenwick £6,000 in total, he believes it was money well spent.
"I have probably spent more on that over the years on replacement glass, eye appointments and contact lenses.
"You only get one pair of eyes and sometimes we do not realise how important they are to us until they are affected in some way.
"It was definitely money well spent and the best part is I will never get cataracts because of these new lenses."
Mr Fenwick is still coming to terms with how clear everything looks and claims he has been given a new lease of life.
"With my new sight I want to explore so much, I can see for miles", he said.
"I would definitely recommend this treatment for others who have poor eyesight."
Vision Surgery offers a comprehensive range of treatments in addition to lens exchange surgery and attracts patients from all over the world.
Cataracts are cloudy patches in the lens that can make vision blurred or misty - they are a very common eye condition.
Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes, and one eye can often be more affected than the other.
The lens is the transparent structure positioned at the front of the eye.
It is normally clear and allows light to pass through to the back of the eye.
However, if parts of the lens become cloudy, light is unable to pass through the cloudy patches.
Over time, the cloudy patches become bigger and more of them develop.
As less light is able to pass through the lens, the person’s vision is likely to become blurry or cloudy.
The cloudier the lens becomes, the more the person’s sight will be affected.
In the UK, more than half of people who are over 65 have some cataract development in one or both eyes.
As well as your age, there are several things that may increase your risk of developing a cataract, including:
A history of cataracts in the family
Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet
Overexposing your eyes to sunlight
Taking steroid medicines (medicines that contain powerful chemicals called hormones) for a long time
Certain health conditions, such as diabetes