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How Rose Opticians helped me on the road to better vision

I am told my entry into this world was traumatic in so much as the incompetent Doctor who delivered me by forceps didn't check the position my head when forceps were applied. Consequently the cornea of my left eye was damaged.

At three days of age I was seen by an eye specialist named Dr Bell but never really learned the outcome of his examination.
It wasn't until I was in Primary School at the age of 7 the teacher noticed I was inattentive when seated at the back of the class so I was moved to the front row of desks so I could read the blackboard.

My parents were notified of the teacher's observations and advised to have my vision checked. I was taken to the Eye Specialist who saw me as a new-born. Dr Bell did the usual visual tests after putting drops in my eyes then wrote a Rx which was dispensed by the local Optician.  I was fearful of the Optician as he always smelt strange.  I later realized he smelt of whiskey.

Coming out from the Optician's wearing my new glasses I could read all the signs across the street clearly and exclaimed I could see the grass growing but I suspect I could see the blades of grass rather than a green blur.
A whole new world was opened up to me and I was delighted with my new glasses until I arrived at school the next day and was teased and called names by the other kids. My glasses then were tucked into my gym slip pocket and only used to read the blackboard. I was the only kid in my class with glasses so the teacher reprimanded the name callers and my glasses were restored to my face once more.

Over the years my Rx was altered but never once was any mention made of correcting my squint.  Dr Bell discussed with my mother his desire to perform a corneal graft which in the 1950's was rather experimental.  My mother declined consent so nothing further was done regarding my squint.

During my working years I had disposable income that could have been spent on improving my eyes.  When I asked about Contact lenses I was told I was not a suitable candidate due to my astigmatism. Only hard lenses were available in the 60's.

In 2004 I came to the U K on an ancestry visa and decided to visit the local optometrist.  Never again will I visit that chain of opticians as the glasses they prescribed were inferior and the so called protective coating crazed very quickly.  That may have been due to clouds of steam that engulfed me whenever I opened the sterilizer at work.

On a visit back to N Z I decided to visit my local optician I had been seeing for years before coming to the U K.  Once again I asked if anything could be done to improve my eyes and got the same answer that my cornea was too damaged to ever give me good vision and my astigmatism would prevent me from using contact lenses.  These people are the professionals so I assumed they knew far better than me and accepted that nothing could be done to improve my vision.
Back in the U K again I was working as live-in carer for a patient of Simon's.  After accompanying my employer to Rose Opticianns' decided to make an appointment for myself with Simon Rose for a review and vision check.

I did the usual vision test and had a scan on equipment that was new to me.  At the end of that appointment Simon told me my left eye had a very dense and established cataract and asked me if I had ever considered having my left divergent squint corrected.  "ALL MY LIFE!!" I replied.

At long last I had consulted with an optometrist who wanted to do something to help my vision and appearance. I left Simon's consulting rooms so happy and couldn't wait to get started on the journey of visual improvement. My Rx required a slight adjustment so I got new frames too.  When I went to collect my new glasses they were fine and I was encouraged to try a soft disposable contact lens in my good eye.  I was shown a video on insertion of the lens and talked through it.  The first lens was inserted by the dispensing optician.  I was amazed at how clear and sharp everything was.  As I am very myopic and rely on peripheral vision a lot as I only use my right eye I thought this contact lens was just wonderful. I couldn't read close up so got some reading glasses to try.  I left Simon's consulting rooms without my feet touching the ground.  The world outdoors was crisp and bright and I could read the bus number from a long way off rather than when the bus was nearly at the stop. 

As soon as I was awake
As soon as I was awake
Three weeks post-op
Three weeks post-op

At home I watched endless youtube clips on insertion and removal of contact lenses and got better each time I inserted or removed my contact lens.  The Rx was altered a couple of times until I got the right balance of far and middle distance vision.

I will always need reading glasses for close up due to age related focusing changes. I would say by the time I had been using the contact lens for 3 weeks I was really good at managing insertion and removal. The next step of my visual journey was to consult Hadi Zambarakji who discussed options with me. I could have my left dense cataract extracted but may be left with double vision with my brain unable to accommodate two images. I could also have the exotropia corrected which would improve my appearance cosmetically. Or, I could do nothing and just leave things the way they currently were.

I went back to Simon to discuss the consultation with Hadi and the options I was presented with.  I quickly decided I had nothing to lose and might gain something from going ahead with the cataract extraction and strabismus correction.
The next step was to consult ophthalmic specialist Elaine Lucas to discuss my options.  Elaine suggested the first step should be the cataract extraction. Then I was to come back to see her following the extraction. Simon then arranged with Hadi to perform my cataract extraction. Once again Hadi pointed out I may have double vision but I was still keen to go ahead with the procedure as I felt I had nothing to lose and may even benefit from the intraocular lens.

I was fully conscious and my eye was numbed with drops and local anaesthetic injection.  The procedure probably took about 20 minutes as the cataract was very dense and well established.  Removal was "like drilling through rock" Hadi commented.
Previous to the cataract removal, vsion from my left eye was like looking through tissue paper.  Several hours after the procedure when I removed the patch my vision was in technicolour and cinemascope.  Colours were so vivid and defined.  I was delighted with the outcome. There was no pain but just a bruised feeling and I was conscious of the stitch in my eye when blinking.  Fortunately the stitch was soluble so soon softened and dissolved completely.

A week after the cataract procedure I had post operative check up.  I could track with my left eye and had no double vision.  I would never read with this eye due to neglected amblyopia, however I use this eye for peripheral vision.
One thing I found very annoying post cataract was when reading with no Rx I hold the book close enough to see clearly and due to my left eye being turned out my brain receives two images which are confusing even though I don't read with my left eye.

Six weeks Post op I was referred back to Elaine Lucas to see about strabismus correction.
Elaine suggested going straight for the adjustable suture strabismus surgery as the Botulinum toxin injection would only be a temporary fix and revert quickly as the strabismus is so long standing.

Elaine referred me to Professor Bentley for adjustable suture strabismus surgery, which will be performed under GA as a day surgery case.

When I Professor Bentley saw me just prior to surgery, photos were taken followed by more photos immediately following surgery.  The suture was adjusted as soon as I was conscious and able to look left, right, up and down.  As the sutures were adjusted, only some uncomfortable tugging was felt.  In general post operative pain was minimal. No analgesia was required. Day 3 post op was the most uncomfortable day due to swelling and bruised feeling.  After that each day was considerably better.

Overall I am delighted with the outcome of the strabismus correction and the best thing is that when reading with no Rx in my right eye, my left eye is facing in the same direction and picking up the same image so I don't get the annoying double vision that my brain couldn't interpret.

I am soon to visit both Mr Zambarakji and Professor Bentley for final check-ups before being discharged from their care.

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