Bright Sight

Oliver Backhouse, Consultant Eye Surgeon

Innovative lens procedures performed at Yorkshire Eye Hospital
1st March 2008

The 13th National Eye Week will take place from the 10th of December 2007, with the emphasis on "Eyecare for the over 60's". Cataract is one of the leading causes of poor vision in this age group and in the last decade improvements have been plentiful. The very latest innovations are being hailed as a major success by both patients and surgeon Mr Oliver Backhouse from the Yorkshire Eye Hospital.

The lenses, produced by Acri.TecŪ offer a whole range of solutions for difficult as well as straight forward prescriptions.

Mr David Warrior ( aged 41) from Adel near Leeds, had the type of prescription that left many opticians quite nervous. He was extremely long sighted ( +11.5) and had 4 dioptres of astigmatism.

David explained his frustrations by saying "I was totally reliant on spectacles and was frustrated because the lens manufacturers had not developed modern designs for people with my prescription. The only glasses I could get were thick and heavy. I did wear contact lenses, but for the last couple of years I have not been able to wear them all day, it must be something to do with the air conditioned office" David went on to explain that by the time his baby was a year old, she constantly grabbed his glasses, leaving him unable to see anything and it was at this point that he went to see a local optician to see if anything could be done about it.

David's optician explained that whilst developments had been made, they had not been made for prescriptions as high and as complex as his. He suggested seeing Oliver Backhouse, the refractive surgeon at The Yorkshire Eye Hospital as he thought a new procedure might be available.

Mr Backhouse confirmed that a relatively new lens called the Acri.Comfort could treat both the long sight and the astigmatism. This would involve removing his natural lens via a procedure almost identical to a cataract operation and replacing it with a lens that could give good distance vision and correct or reduce his astigmatism David felt that the benefits of being able to wear a 'normal' pair of glasses versus his current pair along with being able to see well generally, was worth having the procedure.

The procedure is called Clear Lens Extraction and Mr Oliver Backhouse is one of a relatively small group of surgeons in the UK, performing this. Although the procedure is almost identical to conventional cataract surgery, extensive measurements and detailed consultations are required in order to attain the excellent results that the Yorkshire Eye Hospital is used to.

For David Warrior, the procedure was worth every penny, for the results exceeded his expectations. He is now completely free from spectacles for driving and can ski, swim, go to the gym and run, all without any glasses at all. David runs his own precision engineering company and now, only wears glasses for close up work, but otherwise and for the first time in his life, doesn't need glasses. His astigmatism has also been reduced to zero.

An equally happy patient with a somewhat different problem was David Bailey (aged 68). Mr Bailey, lives in Lincolnshire and he travelled all the way to The Yorkshire Eye Hospital for his procedure, having heard about its good reputation.

He had completely lost vision in his left eye following an operation some time ago and was obviously very concerned when he realised that another operation was needed for a cataract in his right eye. Mr Bailey felt that he would have a wider choice of treatments available to him in the private sector and not knowing which path to take, approached several laser companies* who were unable to treat him. Eventually a neighbour pointed him in the direction of Mr Backhouse at The Yorkshire Eye Hospital.

He said "Mr Backhouse was most reassuring and I had every confidence in him and his team. Throughout the procedure, he explained what was going on. I felt no pain, and after the operation, knew immediately that the operation had been a success". "My daughter took me home and I could see all the road signs and car number plates, without any glasses, which was more than I had hoped to expect".

Before the operation, Mr Bailey had been told by his optician that he was legally only just able to see well enough to drive. He had even changed his television for a large screened version because he could not see well enough to enjoy his favourite hobby, golf, on TV. He was also concerned because he felt that people he knew, thought he was being 'off hand' as he no longer recognised them in the street. After the procedure, Mr Bailey found that he could see ?100%?.

Mr Bailey said "my vision in my right eye is wonderful - I still find myself adjusting my glasses, even though I am no longer wearing them".

The lens that Mr Bailey had implanted is called the Acri.LISA. It is a new generation multifocal lens, designed to allow patients to see in the distance and close up and in between without relying on glasses.

Conventional cataract surgery offers monofocal lenses, which give good distance vision but spectacles are needed for reading.

*Specialist lenses are needed when freedom from spectacles is the end goal. In the main these are not available in the NHS and benefits from lens surgery can outweigh benefits from laser surgery for many people.

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The difference is amazing and has illustrated just how bad my sight was before the CLARIVU lens exchange surgery to treat my long sight. I have crystal clear focused sight for the first time in my life.

Edward Binns 41 from Harrogate. CLARIVU astigmatism correcting lens implants.

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