Laser Eye Surgery – The Eco Friendly SolutionJulia Hailes MBE wears lots of hats … and all of them are green. This is not to say that she fancies herself as the next Philip Treacy – albeit working with a mono chrome palette; more that her environmental work takes her in many different directions.
This is hardly surprising as, if we pause to think about it, caring for our environment can embrace almost all aspects of our lives. The remit is as broad as we chose to make it.
As a professional environmental consultant (working alongside and advising many of the high street giants such as Marks and Spencer), a writer (she has published nine books) and a public speaker who is currently practising what she preaches by carrying out an eco-renovation of her London flat; Julia pretty much lives and breathes environmental issues while still managing to keep her feet firmly on the ground in the ‘Real World’.
Before our meeting, I was concerned not to break any green codes of conduct so I made sure to use both sides of the recycled paper in my notebook. Like most people, I suspect, I am green only to the extent that it will not cause me undue inconvenience. This translates into a lifestyle where I will happily recycle; but am not prepared to address the size of my frequent flyer carbon foot print. However, I have an open mind and am willing to be encouraged to up my awareness … and Julia is definitely the right person to jolt me into action.
It transpires that a further benefit of having Laser Eye Surgery – apart from the many others we already know about – is that it is a green thing to do.
She had worn “hard” contact lenses for 35 years and so managed to keep the amount of generated waste down to a minimum. “However, there are lots of people who have disposables and the cleaning fluids have to be changed regularly too. Over a lifetime this is extremely wasteful.
“Then there are the cheap reading glasses – people are very careless and extravagant with them, getting through as many as possibly thirty pairs a year. They might be inexpensive, but there is a cost to the planet.
Julia shared information with me about the development of eco-friendly glasses with wooden frames which have not yet caught on possibly due to their high price tag and odd appearance. It seems that currently three out of four pairs of glasses sold are metal framed – either made from silver, stainless steel or titanium, all of which come with consequences to the planet. Apparently titanium production creates large quantities of chlorine gas, while mining for other metals causes heavy pollution and is also costly from an energy usage perspective.
“Lasers are very clean and don’t harm the environment”, Julia added.
It was a growing awareness that, in addition to her short-sightedness, she was just beginning to feel the effects of presbyopia; and a conversation with a friend who had undergone the procedure, which spurred Julia into making contact with the London Vision Clinic.
“On top of my short sightedness (which immediately before surgery had deteriorated to a – 5.5 prescription), I was just beginning to be aware of the effects of aging eyes. I was starting to get into this thing of wearing my lenses and then having to put glasses on top for reading. Then, after taking my lenses out at night, I would need one pair of glasses to watch TV and another for reading – I realised that a future like this would drive me absolutely mad!” Now Julia’s bedtime ritual is so simple and quick that it is taking an adjustment period to get used to.
“I have put in my contact lenses in the morning and taken them out at night for most of my life. Now, after brushing my teeth, I find myself thinking ‘is that it?’ After so many years of dealing with contact lenses in the bathroom, I feel I should be doing something else!”
Julia is thrilled with the results of her surgery and has also come up with one or two administrative eco hints for the London Vision Clinic to adopt; although she approves whole heartedly of the clinic’s collection of redundant glasses that are recycled via an African charity. “The London Vision Clinic has been marvellous. The customer service is second to none and all the staff are very helpful”, she said. Visit www.juliahailes.com to read more about Julia’s Laser Eye Surgery and her environmental work.