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Nurse specialising in sexual assault cases given ‘life-changing’ eye surgery in campaign to thank frontline NHS workers

A nurse from the West of Scotland who had difficulty driving to appointments with patients due to her poor eyesight has had her vision corrected with free laser eye surgery in a campaign to thank frontline workers.

Paula Lorraine, a nurse who treats patients who have been sexually assaulted in Ayrshire, Arran, Glasgow and Lanarkshire, was given the free surgery by leading eye care experts Optical Express, as part of their ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign.

Optical Express’ ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign is giving away £1 million worth of free laser eye surgery to NHS and Emergency Service workers to thank them for their service. It is the second time the firm has chosen to thank NHS and Emergency Service workers in this way, and in 2017 Optical Express gave away a further £1 million worth of free laser eye surgery. Over the course of the two campaigns, £2 million worth of surgery will have been donated to improve the lives of thousands of NHS and Emergency Service workers across the country.

Paula wore contact lenses and glasses her whole life, which often meant spending long shifts with tired, irritated eyes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Paula was in charge of two critical care units, but when working on the wards her glasses would often cause her great discomfort, especially when wearing a mask and visor. Although she tried contact lenses, she found these made her eyes dry and sore by the end of her twelve-hour shifts, and also increased her risk of contracting eye infections.

As a nurse who helps victims of sexual assault, Paula often works with people who suffer from health issues in prison, but she was frequently anxious that her glasses would get knocked off her face when she visited patients in their cells. Now she’s had laser eye surgery, she is free from her glasses and is much more confident at work.

Nurse Paula Lorraine said: “The chance to have laser eye surgery and correct my vision has quite literally been life-changing for me. After the operation, I went home and went to sleep and when I woke up, I was amazed how well I could see.

“I was back at work the next day. I can see the difference already at work. My job requires a lot of driving and I really struggled as driving made my eyes tired. But since the operation I have had no problems.

“Now that I don’t need to wear glasses or contact lenses, I am so looking forward to being able to swim in the pool with my nieces and nephews on holiday and not have to worry. I have never been able to go to a spa so I am excited to go in the sauna too, this operation is life-changing.

“I am so grateful to Optical Express for their ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign. It’s such an amazing thing to make our working life a lot better, but it’s also a phenomenal and amazing thing to do for our NHS and Emergency Services.”

David Moulsdale, Chairman and CEO of Optical Express, said: “Optical Express’ ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign allows us to improve the lives of so many hardworking people. We first launched the campaign because we are passionate about giving something back to those who protect the public and to acknowledge the sacrifices they made during the pandemic.

“People are rightly proud of our NHS and Emergency Services in this country, and they have worked tirelessly over the last three years to keep us safe. We are delighted that we can contribute to giving them the thanks that they deserve.”

Since Optical Express was founded 32 years ago, the team are proud to have supported hundreds of humanitarian and philanthropic projects, donating over £33 million and counting to worthwhile causes in the UK and abroad.