Optometrist & Laser Eye Surgery PatientSeptember 2021
Optometrist Tresha, received life-changing laser eye surgery at Optical Express as part of our offer of free treatment to industry professionals, a campaign, which saw optometrists across the UK and Ireland offered free laser eye and lens replacement treatment. The campaign aimed to educate the optical industry on the environmental benefits of corrective eye surgery compared to harmful alternatives such as single use plastic disposable contact lenses and glasses as well as raising awareness and donations for environmental charity, Ocean Generation.
As an optometrist at Specsavers, Tresha advises patients on eyesight-related issues on a daily basis, helping them explore the different types of vision correction solutions available to them. Finding that she lacked adequate knowledge on the benefits of laser eye surgery as an alternative to glasses and contact lenses, she was delighted to learn of Optical Express’ industry campaign. “Patients come in all the time asking whether they should have laser eye treatment. Up until now I’ve always just said, ‘go and have a consultation’, because I hadn’t been through it myself so I wasn’t really able to give them a lot of information,” she explains.
As Tresha was eligible for treatment, she booked in for laser eye surgery with our world-renowned surgeon Dr Zine Elabidine. Pleased with her restored vision, she believes that she is now in a much better position to advise patients on vision correction surgery, by relaying her own experience and explaining the ins and outs of the procedure. “Having gone through it myself, I feel that I can obviously explain that to them a little better,” she says. “Although I’m an optometrist myself, there was a lot of information that I still didn’t know. So coming in and speaking to the other optometrist about it was really good, and they were able to give me all the information that I needed,” Tresha continues.
Not only does Tresha feel better informed on the refractive surgery process, the initiative has also made her more aware of the many benefits of vision correction surgery – particularly in relation to our environment. As discarded plastic contact lenses have become a major contributor to microplastic pollution in our ocean, harming marine life and presenting a serious threat to human health, it is crucial that optometrists help raise awareness on the more sustainable alternatives for vision correction available to their patients. “I hadn’t thought about the impact that contact lenses have on the environment. I was guilty of chucking my contact lenses and disposing of glasses, so, you don’t realise the impact that it has on the environment. It definitely is great that this is a way to move people towards laser treatment, because then you’re also, at the same time, helping the environment. This will be something that I will now start discussing with patients, but also with my colleagues as well,” she comments.
While Optical Express’ industry campaign has helped Tresha feel better equipped to advise patients on vision correction procedures, she also believes that there should be a stronger focus on refractive eye surgery at universities: “We had one lecture on refractive surgery, that’s why I felt like I still had to do my research. But when I came here for my pre-consultation, they went through all the different types of surgery, went through everything in a lot of detail. A lot of patients think we know about refractive surgery and they ask us a lot about it, but until I actually came here I didn’t know a lot of that information,” she says. “I definitely feel like there should be more in place where we can be able to speak about it, like we speak about contact lenses and the other options that are available to them,” she concludes.
So, having received laser eye surgery through Optical Express’ industry initiative, does Tresha now feel more confident discussing vision correction surgery and recommending it to her patients as an alternative to glasses and contact lenses? “Yes, definitely. I mean, I’ve already started implementing it at work. So I’ve started telling people, ‘Go and have your consultation, find out more information about it at Optical Express’,” she says.