17th May 2024
4 minute read
Categorised under:
Patient Stories

Former footballer’s wife is living life in full colour following ‘marvellous’ cataract surgery at SpaMedica

Vision loss can be so gradual that it, ironically, often goes unnoticed. This was the case for 85-year-old Jennifer Hardwick, who lives in Yarm, North Yorkshire.  

“I thought there was a problem with my washing machine,” she explains of her deteriorating sight. “I’d wash my jumpers, but when I took them out of the machine they appeared to be quite faded. Same when I washed the carpets; they were somehow never clean. I thought I was having a run of bad luck when it seemed like my television was also on its last legs and I would have to buy a new one.”

It turns out, following a visit to the optometrist, that Jennifer had cataracts, which were impacting her ability to see clearly. She was advised to have surgery, especially on her badly-affected right eye, but was initially reluctant as she was “petrified” of the procedure. 

The former air stewardess has always been fiercely independent and quite social – she met her late husband, England and Middlesborough football legend George Hardwick, on a flight to Las Vegas in 1969. Following his death in 2004, she was patron of The George Hardwick Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping carers of ill, frail and disabled people. 

Jennifer still enjoys travelling and spending time with her new partner and friends, she loves taking her dog for walks, and she is an avid gardener. She realised all of this would be compromised if her sight continued to deteriorate. Crucially, leaving her cataracts untreated would render her unable to drive, which would severely impact her freedom and quality of life. 

In England, NHS patients can choose which provider they have cataract surgery with. Following careful consideration, Jennifer opted for treatment at SpaMedica. “A friend recommended SpaMedica and, following some additional research, I decided to have the procedure at their hospital in Stockton-On-Tees. I couldn’t be happier with my choice!” she exclaims.  

Besides the rapid treatment time – once she decided to have the surgery, she waited just 10 days for the assessment on her right eye, with the second procedure following four weeks later – she has nothing but praise for the SpaMedica Stockton team. 

“When I arrived, the staff carefully explained what was going to happen. I was nervous and very frightened, but everyone was fantastic. The surgeon comforted me, explaining what was happening and telling me that I was doing great throughout,” says Jennifer. “The aftercare was also straightforward.” 

Following successful cataract surgery on both eyes, her advice to anyone diagnosed with cataracts is to “go ahead, at SpaMedica you are in good hands”. She adds: “It is the best thing I have ever had done and has made an immense difference to my quality of life. I’m now living life in full colour. I honestly didn’t realise what I was missing.” 

Amanda James, Hospital Manager at SpaMedica Stockton-on-Tees, which has been graded as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), says: “We received a lovely thank you card from Jennifer following her surgery. The team work hard to deliver high quality outcomes and support patients to achieve better vision, so it’s always wonderful to learn just how big an impact cataract surgery can have on someone’s quality of life.” 

Cataracts Symptoms  

You may experience one or more of the following symptoms if you have cataracts:  

  • Blurred vision  
  • Difficulty driving at night  
  • Difficulty watching television and reading  
  • Being dazzled by sunlight and/or bright lights such as the headlights of an oncoming car  
  • Fading of colours  
  • Frequent changes to your spectacle or contact lens prescription 

It’s best to see an optician if you think you have cataracts. They will perform a thorough eye check and will be able to refer you for treatment if needed. 

Did you find what you were looking for?

Thank you for feedback