Motorcyclist Geoff Bell undergoes successful eye operations

12 December 2019

As his eyesight steadily deteriorated, 71-year-old Geoff Bell was worried that he might have to give up riding his beloved motorbike.

But following two successful cataract operations Geoff is back on his Honda 750 and now doesn’t need glasses when he’s out on the road.

Mr Bell, who lives in the Warwickshire village of Ratley, started to notice problems with his sight about five years ago.

He explained: “My vision gradually became cloudy and I found I was wiping my glasses three times a day, to no effect. Driving at night became almost impossible as all oncoming headlights created a ‘starburst’ effect, which almost blinded me. I was constantly looking through what seemed like cloudy quartz.

“Knowing that winter was on its way I knew that night driving was simply not an option anymore as it was too dangerous both to myself and other road users so I decided to get something done about it.”

He met with Mr Amit Patel, a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, near Birmingham who told him he needed cataract operations on both eyes.

Mr Patel explained: “A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens and the symptoms may include blurred vision, glare or haloes around lights, faded colours and difficulty with reading and driving especially in low light. These symptoms may drop the vision below DVLA driving standards.

“Treatment involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with a clear artificial one. There are many choices of lenses available now that can achieve distance, intermediate and near vision as well as correct astigmatism, thus reducing dependency on glasses or contact lenses.

“Patients are usually home within a few hours of surgery and an improvement in vision may be noticed within the first few hours and days after the surgery.”

Speaking of his treatment pathway Mr Bell said: “To his great credit Mr Patel has a friendly but rather traditional style, which I emphasise I really enjoyed. It has to be said that if I’m going to put my faith in a person to potentially change my life then if his approach is somewhat formal, you can bet his approach to surgery is the same.

“Everything went well and my sight is now excellent. It improved immediately and there was no post operation pain. Now I can see very clearly in the long distance without glasses, which I’m told meets the DVLA eyesight test.

“The night driving that was such an issue is no longer a problem. Bring on the winter evenings!”

Q: How quickly could I have a consultation, and how much would it cost? 

A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but around £200 is a reasonable guide.

Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?

A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks. 

Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay? 

A: Yes, you can. Our self-pay team can talk you through this and explain the finance options that are available, should you wish to explore them. Call 0121 704 5530 or send us an enquiry.

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