Part 1: Eye Surgery In Vogue


London Vision Clinic patient Susan today.

Flicking through an old copy of Vogue magazine (April 1991) the make-up and fashion features have not dated as much as you might expect.

Philip Treacy’s haute couture hats are still “ahead of their time” and top model Christy Turlington – although no longer the face of Calvin Klein – remains stunningly gorgeous; while yoga could also today be described as “the modern choice” and most of us are still in love with denim.

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However I am in for a surprise when I delve further into the magazine’s health section and find an article entitled “Eyes Righted – Susan Singleton braves the surgeon’s knife”.

Here I read that radial keratotomy – the surgery that Susan had to correct her extremely poor vision – is an “irreversible and relatively new (in 1991) procedure demanding great precision”.

The notes at the end of Susan’s article continue that one eye hospital conducting a trial at the time: “insist that the only real risk is that patients might be dissatisfied if results yield only a partial improvement in their sight, about one-fifth of patients are said to be disappointed following their operation.”

Happily, Susan was not that one in five and her RK operation was a complete success.

Her eyes were corrected one at a time – with six weeks apart. After the first procedure she suffered some pain and her eye was sore and swollen, but: “As the swelling came down, I was aware of an incredible clarity of vision: I could see in a way that I had not done since I was a small child.

After the second operation, Susan wrote, that there were no complications: no headaches, no blurred vision and no problems with glare.

At the time Susan was told that she would enjoy the benefit of good eye sight for approximately twenty years by which time, through the unavoidable problem of ageing eyes, she would start to need reading glasses.

Having experienced successful early eye surgery, it was unlikely that this successful solicitor – now a mother of five – would accept the inevitability of presbyopia and the inconvenience of reading glasses.

However, having had the RK procedure (which involves cuts of 90% depth in the peripheral cornea weakening the area and so causing flattening in the centre of the eye to correct myopia), would Susan be a suitable candidate for blended vision?

To read about what happened next… go to Part 2.

Part 1: Eye Surgery In Vogue