But now, thanks to a 15-minute eye operation, 24-year-old Luke Withey can forget about packing his spectacle case or contact lens solution every time he ventures away from home – and he is already seeing the benefits!
“Not having to take out my lenses before I go to bed or reaching for my glasses first thing every morning is more liberating than anyone with good eyesight will ever be able to understand.”
“Just waking up and being able to see perfectly is a great way to start any day,” he said.
Luke who has recently graduated in Business Studies with Law at Bournemouth University, was just a toddler when he was diagnosed with astigmatism – a condition where the eye is shaped more like a rugby ball than a football. This means the light is focused at more than one place in the eye which can lead to blurred vision, headaches and eye strain.
He explained: “My mother noticed me squinting and struggling to see the television or even pictures in books so she took me to the opticians and that was it, I was wearing glasses before I had even started school.
“As I got older and became interested in sport I moved on to contact lenses. These made a big difference to my lifestyle and my confidence but, over the last year or two, I noticed my eyes becoming less tolerant and I began looking at options to have my vision corrected permanently.”
Luke met with Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Rakesh Jayaswal at Spire Portsmouth Hospital, where he was told about Implantable Contact Lenses, a procedure where a custom-made lens is actually fitted directly into the eye behind the iris.
“The difference between this procedure and the more commonly carried out Refractive Lens Exchange or Laser Eye Surgery is that it does not involve changing the shape of the cornea or removing the lens, meaning the eye remains unchanged.
“As a result, the patient has a very fast recovery time with most patients able to see normally within 24 hours. Basically, it is like wearing a contact lens permanently without irritation or the need for replacement lenses and protective solutions.
“The other major advantage is that the operation can be reversed at any time so, if a different problem occurs, the eye changes or cataracts develop with age, then we can easily go back to the start and either remove the lenses or make the necessary changes,” explained Mr Jayaswal.
As for Luke, he is soon to become a Commercial Manager with BT and is looking forward to a new challenge in his life.
He said: “The operation was over in no time, the lenses have settled in very well and the vision is fantastic – it is much better than I ever experienced with glasses or contact lenses and a lot less fuss!”
Find out more about the treatments we offer at Spire Portsmouth Hospital at our next free open event.