12th September 2022
4 minute read
Categorised under:
Patient Stories

Retired teacher urges others not to delay cataract surgery

Helen Banks hailed surgery at SpaMedica Peterborough ‘painless’ and ‘remarkable.’ 

A retired Spalding teacher is back behind the wheel with ‘complete confidence’ following two cataract surgeries – and is encouraging others to not put off the procedure.  

Helen, a grandmother of four who is still involved in school governance, first noticed issues with her sight when driving at night. With the problem worsening, and red traffic lights blurring in front of her ‘like bunches of cherries’, Helen limited driving to short distances and feared for her future independence. 

She explains: “My optician told me I had cataracts forming about two years ago, but it wasn’t severe enough then to require surgery. However, I was conscious my vision was deteriorating, so eventually I stopped driving at night.” 

Within weeks of Helen being advised that cataracts in both eyes needed attention, she had her first operation at SpaMedica Peterborough, and to her surprise, she could immediately notice the benefits. 

Helen says: “After the surgery you’re given a shield to protect your eye, and when my husband was driving me home I was amazed because I could already read the number plates on the cars around me. It made an unbelievable difference. Just 20 mins after leaving the theatre my vision was hugely improved – so I requested the exact same surgeon for my second eye.” 

Helen had her second operation, on her right eye, earlier this year. She hopes others aren’t put off by any apprehension and misconceptions about the surgery.   

“I didn’t know a lot about the surgery”, she adds, “but I was so relieved when I found out that they don’t inject anything into your eye. 

“I was initially a bit apprehensive, but it was fine, and I couldn’t believe how painless it was. I felt nothing. I followed the surgeon’s instructions to look at the light and before I knew it, he said ‘that’s you done’. It was exactly 10 minutes, it was wonderful.  

“Because your eyes deteriorate so slowly, you don’t realise just how impaired your vision has become. This has taken me back decades.” 

Helen and husband Clayton live on a farm in Pinchbeck. Helen recalls “we had four ducks in our pond and we laughed because I always used to see eight! At least now I can see the right number of ducks, and I can make out detail too, such as the branches and leaves on the trees. It’s remarkable.” 

Clayton has followed in his wife’s footsteps and recently had his first successful cataract surgery at SpaMedica, with a second operation planned at the Peterborough clinic later this year. 

Hospital manager at SpaMedica Peterborough is Georgeana Roman. She adds: “It’s great to hear our patients share their positive experiences of cataract surgery, because there are misconceptions around what it involves. As Helen describes, it is a quick, straightforward procedure and offers a renewed sense of freedom and independence. 

“We pride ourselves on offering personalised care and putting every patient at ease – we’ll hold hands with those who say want some extra reassurance, for example. That’s why over 99% of patients say they would recommend us to their own friends and family. And we’re looking forward to offering the same level of service Helen experienced to Clayton, when he visits for his second treatment.” 

SpaMedica has 43 hospitals across England and supports thousands of NHS patients like Helen every week. Its expert team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality care, while helping to reduce NHS cataract surgery waiting times, with appointments available within just four weeks. 

Cataracts Symptoms 

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

  • A decrease in vision clarity that can’t be corrected with glasses
  • Colours appear faded or washed out, sometimes with a yellow haze
  • Sensitivity to light, glare, and seeing halos around lights
  • Frequent changes to glasses or contact lens prescriptions

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