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Multifocal Lens Replacement And Why I Only Had Surgery On One Eye....

The purpose of this (and the attached video) is to give you the information that I searched for and didn't find prior to the op. I went into surgery with no solid understanding of what my vision would be like afterwards, just with blind faith as my ally.

Let's start at the beginning.

At the start of 2021 I decided to take the plunge and try for a glass's free life. For 6 years, my eyesight had been deteriorating and it had reached the point that made life uncomfortable enough for me to actually do something about it. In 2014, I had started buying £1 glasses from Pound shops just to sharpen things up. This progressed to having glasses in drawers and pockets all over the house and car so that they were always in reach. In addition to that, I was having to buy more powerful ones over the years as well. Not only was it inconvenient to have to rely on glasses, but it was also painful as well, when you put the glasses up onto the top of your head, the number of times a hair gets plucked..... And finally, it was impacting on day-to-day tasks. If I was under the kitchen sink, I'd have to make sure I had a bright light there and when I put my head to one side, the glasses would invariably slip.

The last straw was when I got away for the first time after Covid lockdown. Managed a last-minute booking out to the Maldives and while snorkelling with an action camera, I just couldn't see the light on to check if it was recording or not.

A friend's wife had had laser surgery and after listening to him, I was an easy mark for any company that wanted to sell it to me. I went online, did a bit of research to find the right company for me. I found nothing that really narrowed it down, so just contacted Optimax and arranged a consultation. They explained that I would get a full eye examination (for c£50 I think) and would get the money put towards the op if I proceeded.

I went along on the day, full of excitement, my only trepidation was the stories I'd heard about not having to move as the laser did its work. The examination was very thorough, actually the best eye exam I'd ever had. I then had a full consultation with the expert. Imagine how disheartened I was when the first thing I was told was that my eyes were not suitable for laser surgery. The lady went onto explain my options, but I was so upset that I wasn't really listening. I did pick up on a few points though.

When she told me that I would have to have lens replacement surgery, I was really against it, I saw it as being irreversible and a life changing decision, for good or bad. However, there were a few things that made me contemplate it.

  • It was basically cataracts surgery, which ultimately, I would probably end up having at some point anyway, so why not get the benefit of improved sight earlier.

  • There are roughly 450k cataracts surgeries annually in the UK and 2m in the US, so it is a procedure that is done A LOT.

  • Unlike laser surgery (which degrades over 7 years), when it is done, you do not lose any benefit over time. It's as good 20 years down the line as it is 3 months after the op.

  • The main thing that my ears pricked up to though was that I could just have the one eye operated on. My distance vision was perfect, so what was the point of impacting that when all I needed to improve was my near vision.

It wasn't all roses though. There were drawbacks such as rings around lights at night, nothing was guaranteed, and if I had both eyes done, I may still need glasses for distance etc.

With regard to just having the one lens done, she explained that that eye would pick up on all the near vision and the unoperated eye would pick up the distance. She explained that the human brain is a miracle, and it would work everything out without me having to consciously think about it. I'd seen a program when I was a kid that showed a group of volunteers wearing headsets that altered the vision with mirrors, upside down and reversed. When the headsets went on, they were bumping into everything, but within a week, they were reading and negotiating spaces like pro's. That had stuck with me.

Anyway, I left the opticians having arranged a video call with the surgeon a month later, but truly disheartened and more leaning to the 'I'm not having this done'. However, those points I listed kept prodding me over the next month. My wife wanted to use me as a Guinee Pig and if it worked out ok she would have it done as well. So she had booked to have the consultation and would be following me by a month.

I didn't think about it any further for nearly the whole month before the video call, I deliberately pushed it from my mind as I didn't want to make the decision. But, because I had the video call coming up, a few days before, I started doing my research. The majority of online info was positive, but the one thing nothing told me was, what will it look like after the surgery. By this, what I mean is, when you wear glasses, your field of vision is reduced due to the magnification required. Was this what it was going to be like with the lens replaced? Everybody just said, 'it's great and the op is painless', not the information I was really looking for.

Anyway, the day of the call came around and prior to it, I was still undecided. The surgeon was excellent, he answered mine and my wife's question, put me at ease with regard to what happens Pre, during and Post op and explained that he had personally done over 30k ops during his career. This sold it for me and I confirmed the operation for a month later.

I will repeat that I wasn't clicking my heals and fully looking forward to the op. Nothing I had found online made me think that this was going to be a miracle but the points I listed above and the thought that anything was better than what I had at the moment. The clincher for me though, was the fact that I was only having the one eye done. This meant that if everything went tits up, I would still have one good eye, even if I had to wear glasses for the rest of my life.

So that was it, I turned up on the day with my wife, so she could drive me home after the op. I went through another eye examination then roughly 30 minutes of pre op drops going in my eye so dilate it and anesthetise it, then onto the operation chair. The op itself was a breeze, the only thing I could feel was slight pressure on the eyeball as he worked on it. I looked into the light and the first thing that happened was it went blurred as he took out the natural lens, then there was a bit of fumbling, and the new lens goes in, and the light comes back into better focus. Thats it, all done.

The Eye after the drops are in
Pre lens replacement surgery

I was given a protective, clear plastic cover for my eye and a pack of medication (tablets and drops etc), talked through the recouperation process and sent on my way. When I got outside, it was sunny and there was a lot of light coming into the eye due to the pupil being so dilated, and with the plastic cover over the eye I couldn't really see much. I got home, could watch TV and get around with my good eye with no problem. In saying that if both eyes had been done, I would still have been able to get around. I have spoken to people that have had both done at the same time and have found their way home from the surgery by themselves with no issues.

30 minutes after going in for lens replacement surgery.
Post lens surgery

The main point now. I woke up the next morning, early. Came downstairs and took of the protective shield you sleep with. I had to test out the success or not in my head so picked up an action camera battery that was lying around. You know how small the writing is on something that tiny, but I could see it and read perfectly. I can't begin to tell you how excited I was and basically thought 'this is a miracle'. For three months or more afterwards, when I was in a supermarket and looked at the prices on the shelf edge, AND COULD READ THEM, it was a heart stopping moment. I couldn't tell you how long I subconsciously reached for non-existent glasses when I was about to read something.

The next month of drops was a bit of a bind, but it needed to be done. From day one, I never had an issue with each of the eyes becoming the dominant one for whatever the situation was required, it just happened, no thinking required. When I close my good eye, I don't get pin sharp focus over all distances. Although I can see everything and wouldn't NEED glasses, I would want them for sharpness at distance if my natural lens had been replaced at the same time with the same prescription.

In Summary.....

The best thing I have ever done, a true, life changer. I have been glasses free since the op and I'm living my best life. I do get the circles around bright lights at night (the effect is similar to looking through raindrops on the windscreen at night) and there is some reduction in contrast, but these are more than liveable with. My life is literally transformed. My wife went ahead with her surgery a month later and she's the same, wouldn't look back and the best thing she has done.

I'm sure that the natural lens eye will degrade over time and that I will need to get that one replaced as well in the future. Knowing what I know now, I will talk to the surgeon about have a different prescription put in to pick up on the distance things. That would give me what I have now.

So do I recommend this surgery? Yes, whole heartedly. You need to do your own research. I would say to go to at least two companies for a consultation. If I had gone to Specsavers for example, I was later told by somebody that had the same one eye op as me with Optimax, that they refused to operate on just one eye. They would only do two lenses. That would have been the worst outcome for me. I have been able to road test one eye.

And finally, how does it actually look through the lens. Well, if I alternately open and close each eye, there is no difference, all the periphery vision is there the depth is there and there is no reduction in the field of vision. Perfect.

I realise this is a huge decision for people, lots of questions and fears. If I can help in any way, if you have questions that you are struggling to get answered, e-mail me, I might be able to help. I won't convince you to do something, you make your own mind up, but at least you can do that with as much information available to you as possible!

I really hope this has been useful to you, I would have benefited from it at the time of making my decision. Good luck.

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