Page 60 - Ludlow Lifestyle Nov/Dec 2019
P. 60

 The eyes have it
We speak to Mr Ewan Craig MB ChB DO FRCOphth, of Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital...
Tell us about your career trajectory to date
The grandson of an Optician and
son of an Ophthalmologist, I came
to Shropshire two decades ago as a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, having completed my training at Moorfield’s
Eye Hospital in London. I specialise in microincision cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, including laser and microincision glaucoma surgery, and corneal transplantation. I have particular expertise in “Premium Lenses” for cataract surgery.
Can you explain what a cataract is and why someone would need surgery? Cataract is a common condition where the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, causing blurred vision and glare. Cataract becomes more and more common as
we age.
Treating cataract involves a short local- anaesthetic operation to replace the cloudy lens with an artificial lens. Modern cataract surgery is very successful and low-risk. When your cataract starts to interfere with vision, it is time think about surgery. Untreated cataract eventually leaves the eye blind.
What options are available for patients when it comes to cataract surgery? For patients who are happy wearing glasses the options are mostly straightforward; for those who prefer not to wear glasses the options are quite complex.
NHS patients are only offered standard lenses, which leave patients dependent on glasses. Should patients choose
to have private surgery with me at the Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital,
I am able to offer a much wider range
of choices which reduce the need for glasses.
I do not use standard lenses. In patients who are happy wearing glasses I use a special single-focus “microincision” lens which allows me to do the operation through tiny (1.4mm) incisions. This allows patients to return to normal immediately after surgery without any restriction on activities.
Patients who are happy to wear glasses usually prefer to see in the distance without glasses and wear glasses for near; sometimes they need glasses for both.
Patients who have astigmatism (rugby- ball-shaped eye) will need glasses for distance and near unless they choose a premium “toric” lens implant.
Patients who don’t like glasses can choose from “multifocal” or “extended- range” premium lenses, these are
more expensive but reduce the need
for glasses. It is important to be aware that, regardless of cost, the perfect replacement lens does not exist. Although more convenient this type of lens can cause more optical side-effects, particularly when driving at night.
Negotiating the complexities of the choices available takes knowledge,
skill and experience. I am happy to see patients who think they may be interested in premium lenses to assess their needs and their eyes to see if they would be suitable.
Can people have lens replacement surgery without having cataract? Yes. All of the options I have just
discussed are available to patients who simply want to improve their focus and vision without glasses.
What’s the most memorable positive outcome you’ve seen in a patient with cataracts?
I have a great many patients who have had amazing outcomes from cataract surgery, many have been moved to tears at the improvement in their vision, but perhaps the most memorable was a lady referred with a small eyelid lump. She had gone totally blind from cataract over the course of a few months, but said nothing as she thought nothing could be done and didn’t want to worry her family. When I asked her to read the test-chart she couldn’t even see where it was. After removing the eyelid lump, I operated on her cataracts. Her vision was completely restored, she could see the bottom line on the test-chart without glasses, and her new grandchild for the first time. To say she was overjoyed completely fails to capture just how happy she was.
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