Aimee McWilliams, who runs her own fashion design studio in Shoreditch, London, wore glasses from the age of 13 then started using contact lenses aged 15.
When she went for a regular check up with her local Optical Express last month she was shocked when her eye examination revealed she had a condition called neovascularization. The condition is most commonly caused by excessive wearing of contact lenses.
The front of the eye (cornea) becomes starved of oxygen, and the eye then tries to compensate by growing new blood vessels across the surface of the eye – potentially causing damage to the eye and resulting in vision loss.
If left untreated neovascularization can be blinding in extreme cases, and even with treatment the effects can be irreversible if it is not stopped early enough.
The condition has four grades of severity ranging from mild to complete loss of vision, and Aimee was told she was already at the second stage and in danger of her eyesight deteriorating further unless she gave up wearing contact lenses for at least one year or looked at surgery to correct the issue.
Due to the demands of her job in designing premium fashion wear in conjunction with brands such as Balmain of Paris, Levi’s and Underground Shoes, Aimee said the decision to have corrective surgery was a “no brainer”. “It was a scary thought that a condition like neovascularization which I’d never heard of might cost me my eyesight. It was a real bolt out of the blue.
“I could maybe have gone back to wearing glasses, but in my line of work that’s not always practical as often I’m working on very finely detailed drawings or embroidery of garments at a very fast pace. It’s very important I can see what I’m doing properly to ensure I get the kind of high-quality finish I want on pieces for my clients. “What also appealed was the thought of being free from having to carry around glasses or put in contact lenses every day too, so I decided straight away to book in for a procedure to rectify the problem.”