The Queen’s Hair Looks Great Thanks To My Laser Eye Surgery
By Bonnie Estridge
The Queen’s hairdresser, Ian Carmichael, was nervous. It was nothing to do with his illustrious client – he has been tending to Her Majesty’s hair for 14 years – but because he had become so long-sighted he could barely read a newspaper, let alone tend to the Royal tresses.
‘A friend once said that as soon as you hit 40 you have problems with long-sightedness and she was right,’ says Ian, 50. ‘Ten years ago I found that I couldn’t read newspaper small print or restaurant menus. I never worried about doing the Queen’s hair. I could tell the total shape was good-by feeling the balance of the hair on either side and because the Queen likes to have the same style, so it was easy for me to make it look good. But my eyesight was affecting my work.’
A year ago, Ian visited an optician. ‘I was told the best option was to wear glasses,’ he says. ‘I decided to buy those cheap magnifying specs and wear them only when I absolutely needed to. I never wore glasses when I was working on a client and everybody’s hair took far longer than it should have done because I’d check it again and again.’
Laser Blended Vision
However, in March he heard of a more permanent solution: Laser Blended Cision. Previously Laser-Eye Surgery could correct only short-sight. The new procedure, developed by ophthalmic surgeon Professor Dan Reinstein, at the London Vision Clinic, can correct long-sighted vision as well. ‘I was nervous before the surgery, but with the Royal Wedding coming up I wanted to be able to see perfectly to do the Queen’s hair. I lay on a couch, under the laser machine and had some eye drops put in. Then all I had to do was look at some flashing lights.
CUTTING EDGE: Ian Carmichael told the Queen about the amazing results of his operation.
‘There was a strange, unpleasant smell but I was assured this was not burning, but atomic carbon particles generated by the laser. It was over in five minutes and I was amazed when I was asked to read the small print on a test card – I could read it perfectly.
‘The aftercare at home was drops every 15 minutes for two hours and wearing eye shields at night.
Knowledge Dispels Fear
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When I next saw the Queen I told her I’d had my eyes done. She looked at me quizzically and said, “But Ian, I’ve never seen you wearing glasses.” I admitted I hadn’t wanted to wear them, and had just managed to get by, but in any case her hair would be even better now.’
Prof Reinstein says: ‘Blended vision is a laser in-situ keratomilieusis [LASIK] procedure, in which a machine called a microkeratome, or a laser, is used to cut off a hinged flap from the top of the cornea. We then use the laser to remove thin layers of the exposed section of the cornea to alter its shape. If treating short-sightedness, the laser will be used in the centre of the cornea, creating a more concaved lens. For long-sightedness, more tissue is removed from the outer part, creating a convex lens that aids focus on near objects.
‘The laser part takes less than a minute. The corneal flap is then brought back over the eye. There is no need for stitches as the flap will be held in place by a natural vacuum.’