In my 50th year now, 35 of them having struggled with glasses and contact lenses required for rugby and cycling, I decided it was time to bite the bullet. I wanted my vision corrected once and for all to eliminate the never-ending problems of contact lenses in sport. Having difficulty reading, with close vision, as well as having very poor long distance vision, I was nervous at what the end result would really give me, with regards to my short and long distance problems. I spent a long time researching the different procedure options and what clinic I would put my priceless vision in the hands of. I had made my mind up and then, by coincidence having spoken to a friend-of-a-friend who had recently used Cathedral Eye, my decision was endorsed.
After a very thorough and reassuring telephone conversation my initial consultation was arranged with Andrew. At this informal and relaxing appointment, following extensive eye examinations, all my queries and concerns were answered and the options of treatment made to me. At no point was I pressurised into any procedure but all the facts given to me, for me to make the decision. I was nervous and sceptical about the end result regarding my ability to read as well as the main challenge of correcting my long distance vision. To assist with finding the best prescription to fulfil both my long and short distance sight, I was given trial contact lenses of varying prescription to let me simulate which end result would suit me best. Again I was never rushed and eventually we decided on the correct option (after several trial walks around Belfast!). I then met Prof. Moore who completed more thorough tests and confirmed my chosen procedure was absolutely appropriate. A date was agreed upon for the procedure which then made it all seem very real, I was really going to do it, in just a few days time.
On entering the procedure room I was made feel very much at ease, even though I had no real nervousness about the procedure. My main thoughts were around what the immediate after-op discomfort would be like. The procedure and what I had to focus my eyes on was explained to me and being told that I could be back on the turbo trainer within two days amazed me. I lay on the bed and the ‘laser machine’ moved slowly across my face – I felt myself internally panic and this was the first time I had thought about my claustrophobia. Oh no! One thing never crossed my mind previously – I am extremely claustrophobic – would this cause me any problems during the procedure? My immediate reaction was, “I can’t do this”. I had no concerns over the eye procedure but all of a sudden my concern was whether I would be able to block out the world and lie motionless for the length of time it would take to complete, with this machine over my face. Prof. Moore distracted me talking about cycling and told me that he would only require 18 seconds on the first machine and that we would only do one eye today. This massively relieved my anxiety, surely I could cope with this minimal length of time? I did. A sip of water and a twist of the bed and I was under the second machine – would I cope with more of this, yes, after being told that it would only be a further 16 seconds and my anxiety was disappearing.
Following this and my new air of confidence I confirmed that I wanted to continue and complete the second eye as planned, now. Thank goodness I did, it was a breeze as my anxiousness had disappeared. Next thing I knew I was being helped to my feet and through blurry adrenaline rushed eyes I could still see! I hadn’t known what really to expect, would it all be dark for a while – no it wasn’t. After further checks by Prof. Moore and a photo with him and Andrew! I was drinking tea and being told by the nurse what drops I needed to put in every hour for the rest of that day. I was booked in to come back for a check up the next morning.
With my clear eye-shields on I was able to walk to the car, albeit with blurred vision and once in the car I blocked out all light and was keeping my eyes closed as instructed. I felt no discomfort apart from an extreme headache which would purely have been brought on by my anxiety over the claustrophobia.
Once home I lay down in our bedroom with the blinds pulled and every now and again I would peek out and have a look at the television. I was sure that I could make out the picture whereas previously I could barely see the television without glasses, never mind the picture itself. Religiously every hour I put in the drops and kept waiting for an element of discomfort but this didn’t come. I fell asleep and woke up early due to the gale force winds and driving snow outside! Peeking out through the blinds I could see across the fields like never before. How could this be, so quickly after the procedure. As I had no discomfort and could see very well and due to the bad snow on the roads, I decided to take the train to Belfast for my next-day check up. I received fewer strange looks than I’d imagined due to my dark sunglasses, hat and hood, as it was sunny and bright from the snow covered fields. I continued to administer my eye drops and still had no problems with my vision and no eye discomfort.
Back at Cathedral Eye I met Andrew again, who checked my eyes to ensure no infection or problems and everything was even better than we both could believe. Even a very early eye test proved that my sight was fit for a ‘fighter-pilot’ less than 24 hours after the procedure. I could also read the paper in front of me. I was ecstatic! Over the next few weeks I was very cautious in the shower, sweating on the turbo trainer and even moreso when back out on the bike in wind and rain BUT this has massively changed my life on the home, social and sporting fronts. No dirt, grit and sweat under contact lenses when riding my bike is a huge advantage and having clear vision makes the experience much safer and more enjoyable. It has hugely improved the clarity of my vision and eye comfort when cycling. A month on now and it is like I never remember having to wear contact lenses or glasses.
Thank you so much Cathedral Eye, the best decision I ever made. I just wish I’d made it 20 years ago. If you, like me, have reservations about doing this, think about it no longer, let it transform your life.