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Mick has sight returned after double cataract surgery

Mick O'Leary cataract patient at Benenden Hospital

Mick O’Leary had cataracts removed from both of his eyes in our private hospital’s dedicated Eye Unit. From his first cataract operation in December 2022 to his second in March 2023, Mick went from his left eye being just about legal to drive to driving confidently at night among headlights, enjoying his Morris dancing again and returning to his job as a barber. Read on to discover how our Consultant Ophthalmologists gave Mick his sight back.

What symptoms were you experiencing?

“My vision problems started a few years ago. I went to my opticians and they said I had a cataract starting and I couldn’t believe them. I suppose because a cataract forms so gradually, you don’t really notice it worsen until everything is blurry. I started wearing glasses 20 years ago to improve my short-sighted vision as I do a lot of close work for my job as a barber. If I had single lens glasses, I’d look in the mirror and my clients would be blurred, so I had these special variant lenses that adapted my focus.

“However, as my sight deteriorated, I ended up always wearing them and I somehow managed to cut hair for all that time. I’m an avid crossworder too and I was struggling to read the clues even with my glasses on. Driving at night wasn’t enjoyable anymore to the extent that I tried to avoid it as often as I could. It was the headlights shining in my eyes that would affect me so badly.

“When I then went back to the opticians, I was told that my left eye was only just about legal to drive! This was the final straw for me, I knew I’d better get something done about it. So, I went to my GP for advice and because I have Benenden Health membership, my doctor referred me here to Benenden Hospital. This meant that I could receive faster access to cataract surgery.”

Mick's cataract surgery success

Mick had cataracts removed from both eyes in our dedicated Eye Unit. From his first cataract operation in December 2022 to his second in March 2023, Mick went from his left eye being just about legal to drive to driving confidently at night among headlights, enjoying his Morris dancing again and returning to his job as a barber.

What are the benefits of being a Benenden Health member?

“My wife and I moved to Cranbrook about six years ago and while working as a barber, many of my customers were in the civil service. They often talked about the benefits of their Benenden Health membership.

“Being in Cranbrook, I knew the hospital was right on our doorstep and that the membership was such an affordable amount each month. For these reasons, it was a no-brainer for my wife and I to sign up! It’s one of those things you buy hoping you won’t have to use it, but it’s very nice to know you have this hospital within walking distance.”

What Consultants did you see for both of your cataract procedures?

“When I came for my initial consultation on 13 October 2022, I saw Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Dr Godfrey Borg. He was brilliant and he really accommodated my nose problems as I can’t breathe through my nose when I lie too far back. Dr Borg said we could do a trial run to go through the angle I’d be at for my procedure to see if I’d be comfortable. It was wonderful that he went the extra mile to suggest this to me.

“I returned for my first cataract removal surgery in December 2022 which was completed by Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Syed Shahid. I am a panicky patient, but he reassured me, as did every member of the team I came into contact with.

“Three months later, I had my second cataract removed by Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Dr Sarit Lesnik-Oberstein. She was absolutely brilliant! Even my optician said that they’ve had so many positive remarks from their clients about Dr Lesnik-Oberstein.

“The procedure is so quick, Dr Lesnik-Oberstein timed it to ease my mind and it only took six and a half minutes! I can’t fault Benenden Hospital for their support and care throughout my patient journey.”

How did you find the staff and surroundings at our hospital?

“From the minute you walk into the hospital and meet the receptionist on the main desk to going downstairs to the Eye Unit, everybody was so kind and they all reassured me that everything would be okay whenever I expressed my concerns. People had time to spend with me, and they didn’t rush through anything.’

“Overall, the staff are absolute treasures. Benenden Hospital is so beautiful and it’s set in acres of countryside. If there’s anything that’s going to put you on the road to recovery, it’s got to be being treated within this natural environment isn’t it.”

What was your recovery like?

“After the surgery, I was told how to use the eye drops correctly and about a week after my surgery, I had a follow-up phone call. During this call, my Consultant/Nurse was really interested in what I had to say, they answered any questions I had, and they were so happy that my recovery was going well.

“Two months on from my second cataract surgery, I’ve gone from having to wearing glasses all the time to just wearing them for my barbering and reading. As a Morris dancer who does lots of events in the evening, a year ago I wasn’t comfortable driving back in the dark but now I’m so much more confident. 40 years ago, my mum was struggling with cataracts and she was so depressed at not being able to see. Having suffered from the effects of cataracts myself, it’s only now that I appreciate and empathise so deeply with her. I’m beyond grateful to have my sight back.”

Mick’s advice to anyone struggling with cataracts

“I’m not the bravest person in the world but even I recommend having cataract removal surgery to anybody who is struggling. I’ve not only got my eyesight back, I’ve got my life back too – don’t put it off.”

Private cataract surgery in our award-winning Eye Unit

Our highly respected Ophthalmic Consultants – supported by a team of experienced eye healthcare professionals - can quickly assess and diagnose any eye condition you may have and carry out treatment at our safe and comfortable award-winning Eye Unit. We’re proud to be the number one provider of private cataract surgery in Kent and Sussex*

Find out more about our private eye treatments available through self-pay and private medical insurance, by completing our online enquiry form, contacting us via Livechat or by calling our Private Patient team on 01580 363158. You can also book a consultation for a monofocal lens replacement using our online booking tool.

*Private Healthcare Independent Network 2022

Published on 21 February 2024