London Vision Clinic Helps Louise Achieve Glasses-free Triathlon Dream
London Vision Clinic patient, Louise Righton, had no doubt about how she planned to enjoy her new eye sight: she would take part in a triathlon as soon as possible.
“It was something I had always wanted to do – but my extreme short sightedness had always held me back”, she said. “When my surgeon, Glenn Carp, asked me what was my ‘motivation’ to have the operation I told him, that I was a frustrated athlete with a long held dream.”
Since damaging her eyes as a teenager with some careless use of contacts, Louise had been recommended to only wear them very occasionally.
“By the age of 16, my eyesight had deteriorated to the point where I was completely reliant on glasses or contacts. I would sometimes sleep in contacts and, as a result, developed some eye infections and damage from misusing them. Although I wore contacts on my wedding day – they were no longer comfortable so I had come to completely rely on my glasses.”
This had a massive impact on her enjoyment of sports.
“I would always be thinking about the weather conditions and possible problems when running or trying to cycle in my glasses. It was not only awkward with wearing a cycle helmet; but also insects would get behind them or they would ‘steam up’ or get splattered with rain – not letting me see properly. I was always thinking about my glasses and how I would cope.
“I was so completely blind without my glasses that I used to imagine dreadful scenarios like surviving an accident, but losing my glasses and not being able to escape. I knew that I had a real disability.”
Louise was also at a disadvantage in the swimming pool – where she struggled with the complications of using prescription goggles.
Ten years ago, Louise had approached a high street clinic to have her eyes corrected; but was turned down as unsuitable due to her extreme prescription.
“After that, I just forgot about Laser Eye Surgery dismissing the possibility of ever being glasses-free.”
It was Louise’s mother who suggested enquiring at the London Vision Clinic after reading a newspaper article about the successful treatment of a student who also had an extremely high prescription.
“As soon as I was told that I could be treated, I wanted it done immediately. Of course, I would have had it done years ago, if I had known it was possible”, said Louise.
After having blended vision surgery in May, she began serious training. In September she was able to take part in the Southwell Triathlon… and the experience exceeded her every expectation.
“I did the whole course with a massive smile on my face! This was after only five weeks training and it will be the first of many – I loved it.”
Louise, a 43-year-old mother of two was satisfied with her final placing: 10th (out of 25) in her age group.
Life After Laser Eye Surgery
Being free of her glasses has also given Louise the confidence to pursue her passion for sport in different directions. Recently she qualified as a ride leader with British Cycling which lead to meeting and riding with Team GB cycling star, Victoria Pendleton. Most weekends Louise now takes groups of women for on and off-road cycle rides through the organisation Breeze Bike Rides (www.breezebikerides.com).
She claims now to be “evangelical” about the process, telling everyone she meets who cares to listen. “It seems as if everyone I see knows about how life-changing it has been for me. They all stop me in town and ask ‘how are the eyes?'”
As a full time marketing manager for a major pharmaceutical company, she now has no problem working all day at her computer screen; while holidays are also considerably easier.
“The freedom of being on holiday without juggling glasses and prescription sunglasses is wonderful. Also not having to worry about losing glasses or contacts in the waves – pure freedom! Just after my surgery we went to Trinidad & Tobago for two weeks for my brother’s wedding – no glasses, no contacts … it was great!”
Louise concludes by saying: “Taking part in the triathlon was just one of many ways that being glasses-free has changed my life. It is absolutely brilliant – completely amazing and certainly worth every penny! A huge thank you to everyone at the London Vision Clinic for all their fabulous care.”