Gareth, a police constable from Durham, no longer struggles with majorly impaired vision thanks to free laser eye surgery from Optical Express.
37-year-old Gareth has been in a constant battle with his eyesight since his early childhood, with a strong prescription of -3.75 in both eyes. His short-sighted vision massively affected his day to day life, particularly throughout his role as constable for the Northumbria police.
For the last decade, Gareth has worked in the 24/7 crime response team, before recently moving to the cybercrime unit. His high intensity job involves responding to incidents of online crime and preventing young people from committing further offences.
Gareth would alternate between wearing glasses and contact lenses, but he found it increasingly difficult to wear contact lenses on 12-hour long shifts. His eyes would dry up and become uncomfortable after extended periods of time.
On cold nights, when acting as a 24-hour responder to local crime, often inside warm pubs and bars, his glasses would fog up and impede his vision even further, reducing his efficiency as a police officer.
Gareth also enjoys snowboarding in his spare time, but his poor vision made it difficult to take part in the sport, which requires the use of protective eye goggles.
Frustrated with the problems that his eyesight brought to his personal and professional life, Gareth signed up for the Optical Express Thanks a Million campaign which has been rewarding NHS and emergency service workers in the UK since 2017 with free laser eye surgery.
Commenting on his new vision, Gareth said: “Wearing glasses induced significant stress that I didn’t even realise until I was gifted laser eye surgery from Optical Express. Within 24 hours my vision had improved and I no longer rely on my glasses from the minute I wake up.”
Next year, Gareth will take his two young children, ages 3 and 6, on the skiing holiday of a lifetime.
Before receiving the surgery, Gareth’s annual glasses renewal and contact lens subscription would set him back over £600. On the day of receiving the phone call from Optical Express, he was on his way to purchase his next pair, a huge cost which can now be avoided.
Since contact lenses are considered a single-use plastic, contributing to the global climate change crisis, Gareth is also now reducing his impact on the environment.
David Moulsdale, Optical Express, Chairman and CEO said: “As part of our Thanks a Million campaign, since 2017 to date we’ve given away over £1M worth of free eye surgery to those who deserve thanks most in the UK – our NHS and emergency services. With recent times they’ve shown this to be the case even more and we hope that with the success of this campaign we’ll be able to thank more people in the future, in the way that only we can do. The individual stories that have come out of the surgery have been heart warming to hear. Gareth’s story especially, with the important job he does protecting us from crime deserves rewarding and we’re thrilled that we were able to offer him this life-changing treatment.”