Valerie Singleton has LASIK and now Cataract surgery at London Vision Clinic
Television personality Valerie Singleton OBE, perhaps best known for presenting Blue Peter in the 60s and 70s, speaks to us about her journey with London Vision Clinic. After initially having PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision LASIK back in 2005 with Professor Reinstein, she returned to the clinic for her cataract surgery.
Valerie first met Professor Reinstein on holiday at the Club Med in Tunisia; back in the early 80’s. She recalls, “Dan was out there working and would often perform saxophone for the guests. He is a brilliant saxophone player!” Shortly after this, Dan moved back to Central London to continue his medical studies and coincidentally was living a stones-throw away the BBC building. At the time, Valerie was presenting Radio 4’s afternoon show, so they would sometimes meet up for a drink.
Soon after this however, they lost touch and Valerie was unaware that Dan had gone off to pursue his specialisation in eye surgery in America. They were both travelling and busy with work commitments until suddenly …in 2002, an invitation dropped through Valerie’s letterbox.
“Professor Dan Reinstein invites you to the opening of the London Vision Clinic, at 8 Devonshire Place”, it read, London Vision Clinic’s original premises before moving to its current location of 138 Harley Street, in 2009.
A few more years passed and it became apparent to Valerie that needing to wear glasses and switching to contact lenses (mainly when specs weren’t ideal for filming work), was proving to be inconvenient, a huge expense and simply unsuited to her busy lifestyle. “I had been developing the concepts of PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision after my return from the USA so that I could work with more sophisticated and advanced equipment,” Professor Reinstein said, adding “by 2004 I had completed the algorithms for a new way of improving laser eye surgery to be able to treat reading vision.”
“In 2005, I had the LASIK PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision procedure and it was absolutely amazing” She remarks, “Before surgery, Dan asked me ‘What time is it?’ and gestured towards my watch, and of course, I couldn’t read it…I sat up after surgery and he repeated the question…I read my watch in an instant with no trouble at all. It was fantastic.”
Now in 2018, Valerie has returned to the clinic for cataract surgery, after she noticed signs of night driving becoming difficult last year. A cataract is when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy and makes the vision blurry such that it can no longer be sharpened by glasses or contact lens. Cataracts can also cause glare in sunlight or at night with car headlights or street lights for example, and can also change colour perception. Many people often comment on how “white” whites are and how “blues” are now blue again after having cataract surgery.
Most cataracts tend to be age-related, but they can also be associated with diabetes, trauma to the eye, or even just run within families. “Cataract development is not associated in any way with laser eye surgery. The lens that becomes a cataract is inside the eye, well away from the cornea which is the clear structure at the front of the eye which is altered by LASIK or SMILE. Almost everyone gets some age related changes to their lens, but only 1 in 3 people currently go on to have cataract surgery in their lifetime.”
On her return to the clinic many years later, Valerie remarks “It is so nice to be back at the clinic again and you never know – I might even get to say hello to a very busy Professor Reinstein! My surgeon was brilliant at explaining everything, I felt very confident and assured throughout in his abilities. The clinic has a fantastic record and the follow-up process has been excellent.
Professor Reinstein comments: “It was a real pleasure to be able to have looked after Valerie’s vision for all these years, particularly as she first met me as a saxophone player and medical student!”