A Weaverham riding school owner has told of her life-changing NHS cataract treatment – which has helped the hospital she attended reach a milestone of 20,000 cataract surgeries performed.
Rose Tommons, aged 65 from Northwich, learned that she was the landmark patient when she visited SpaMedica’s Manchester hospital for NHS treatment on her left eye last month. It follows the same procedure on her right eye at the hospital in 2021.
Rose, who is director of family business Sandy Lane Equestrian and has over 40 horses, describes how gradual sight loss left her lacking confidence and struggling with daily tasks.
She says: “I went to my optician because I was having trouble reading. We have a big-screen TV at home and I couldn’t see the credits. My optician initially changed my glasses, but I wasn’t comfortable driving at night and I realised that even wearing my glasses, I couldn’t read the large motorway signs. It got to a point where it was really affecting my confidence.
“When I returned to the optician I had cataracts confirmed and was referred to SpaMedica. It all happened really quickly, and I had surgery as an NHS patient around six weeks later.”
Initially apprehensive, Rose is urging others to avoid delaying the treatment, because of the impact it has had.
“I hate anyone going near my eyes, so I was terrified. I was worried that they stick needles in your eyes, but it was just drops and it was so quick. The difference is absolutely life-changing. I don’t wear glasses for driving now and I can see things in detail – that’s what I’ve noticed the most. I can look outside at the riding school and I can identify leaves and grass stems – silly things like that – it’s like someone has cleaned a window really well.
“I’ve been telling everyone to get it done – some people think ‘not my eyes, I couldn’t’ and I say, honestly it doesn’t hurt. And the difference is amazing, it really is. The TV jumps out at me now! I still need glasses for reading, but that’s a small price to pay. It’s just so liberating to have your vision restored.”
SpaMedica in Manchester was the very first hospital in the group, opening in 2008. The leading provider of NHS cataract surgery has since expanded to 37 sites across England.
Hospital manager at SpaMedica Manchester is Joanne Keegan. She adds:
“It was wonderful to welcome Rose and celebrate with her as our 20,000th cataract patient in Manchester. Although like all our patients, Rose is much more than a number. We treat our patients like family, and it’s lovely to hear how the treatment has improved her quality of life.
“While wait times for cataract surgery are more than 52 weeks in some parts of the country, we can offer NHS surgery within eight weeks from referral, and complimentary transport is available for those who might otherwise struggle to access our service.”
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