Being able to read her 70th birthday cards was the best gift ever for Mrs Judith Palmer of Barry. After nine months of sight loss with cataracts in both eyes, Mrs Palmer was at risk of losing her sight permanently until she was referred to Mr Dan Morris of Nuffield Health Cardiff & Vale Hospitals.
The family decided to seek a private opinion as the NHS wait was very long. Her son and daughters were very concerned about her continuing to try to live independently. Living on her own without her sight, she had begun to have regular scalding accidents when trying to make a cup of tea. Her loss of vision was so severe – food shopping required two people.
Eye specialist Mr Morris was recommended by her optician as being ‘marvellous’ and Mrs Palmer regards herself as being’ very, very lucky’ for coming under his care. She had no experience of hospitals or operations and says she is a very nervous individual but he was able to put her at ease and explain everything in detail. She says he is a “lovely thorough gentleman and so gifted as an eye surgeon. I recommend him to everybody. If you can afford it, it is well worth it not just for yourself but for your whole family to benefit.”
An outpatient appointment at Cardiff Bay was the first step on the journey and then surgery in March this year at the Vale Hospital, at Hensol. Mrs Palmer was overjoyed by her experience, saying, “Both Cardiff Bay and the Vale hospitals were excellent and they try to do everything for you to make you comfortable. The staff there treated me like royalty – they are a real credit. I chose to come home with my son the same night and returned the next day to see my consultant and have the bandages removed.”
Having worn glasses all the time since childhood, her expectation, and that of her family, was that her vision after surgery would still be blurry. Pleasantly surprised, the instant the eye pads were removed, it was as clear as crystal. Mrs Palmer says, “Everything was so bright and I no longer need my glasses, except for reading! The moon that night looked amazingly crisp – it was unbelievable! I was able to watch my grandson play rugby on TV and am enjoying looking at photographs again. Having cataracts gives you a massive understanding of sight problems, the limitations of doors, steps, caring for yourself and how the whole family is affected. I am so very grateful to Mr Morris and the Nuffield hospital team.”
Surgeon Mr Morris comments, “When I first met Mrs Palmer, she was guided into the consulting room by her children as she really could not see anything at all. She hardly spoke during the visit and had become quite depressed due to her loss of sight and the impact on her life. After surgery and the removal of the pads, she was clearly astonished by the improvement. A couple of weeks later, she was a changed lady, smiling and chatting away avidly with me!”