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physiotherapy lead Leanne Walters poses happily at her work after cataract surgery
By In-house Team, Circle Health Group

Cataract surgery: Leanne Walters’ story

Leanne Walters paid for her own transformative cataract surgery at The Werndale Hospital in Wales

Leanne Walters: life before surgery

Leanne Walters is a 44-year-old physiotherapy lead from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire. She is exceptionally passionate about her job as a physiotherapist, having worked in the NHS for more than 20 years. She is kind, outgoing, and loves socialising with friends and travelling when her health is in good shape.

Leanne struggled with cataracts in both eyes due to having diabetes. She had cataract surgery with the NHS on her left eye and decided to have the same surgery on her right eye at Werndale Hospital in Wales in May 2022. Leanne's condition was severe and her vision in her right eye had deteriorated fast since developing a cataract, making everyday activities feel impossible. Leanne describes her vision before surgery as 'misty and unclear', making pastimes such as reading and walking difficult. She recalls that her condition began to severely affect her confidence and resulted in feelings of anxiety and vulnerability.

Leanne says: "Activities like reading, texting, and walking were becoming impossible. I was so scared I would trip and fall when walking, so I felt vulnerable and afraid whenever I exercised, which made me feel anxious. I didn't expect to be in this situation and unable to see at such a young age. I needed surgery because I wanted nothing more than to get on with my life."

I was so scared I would trip and fall when walking, so I felt vulnerable and afraid.

Leanne Walters

What is a cataract?

A cataract occurs when the lens of your eye, which is normally clear, becomes cloudy. The lens on the inside of your eye is a small transparent disc behind your iris. It helps you focus light, or an image, onto your retina, allowing you to see clearly. Cataract surgery corrects the problem by replacing the cloudy lens with a clear one. It is a common and very effective surgery that restores full vision in most cases. You might need cataract removal surgery like Leanne if you're struggling with the following symptoms:

  • Increased sensitivity to light or glare
  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Colours may look faded
  • Double vision
  • Circles of light around bright lights

Learn everything you need to know about cataract removal surgery

Leanne’s experience at Werndale Hospital

Leanne's case was a high-risk case, meaning that the risk of complications occurring during surgery was higher than usual. This was because Leanne's cataract was advanced, severely affecting her vision and making surgery more complicated.

Leanne called Werndale Hospital and requested a consultation with a specialist willing to take on such a high-risk case. She was put in touch with Consultant Ophthalmologist Miss Eirini Skiadaresi, who examined her condition and knew she could help. Leanne was over the moon with how her initial consultation went and felt reassured she was in safe hands for such a complex procedure.

"Miss Eirini Skiadaresi is exceptional. She took the chance on a high-risk situation because she has confidence and expertise. I'm so thankful to her and always will be. She put my mind completely at ease during the consultation and assured me I was in safe hands. She is incredible, not only does she have such professionalism and expertise, but she is also kind and caring and explained everything to me with such directness and detail. I'm truly thankful."

Leanne experiences panic attacks in a Hospital theatre setting due to anxiety, but her entire healthcare team was there to ensure she felt safe and supported throughout her time in hospital.

"I was very anxious about being in theatre and experienced a panic attack before surgery," she explains. "Everyone did an exceptional job of keeping me calm. My whole team was incredible, their personalities were infectious. They were with me every step of the way - they chatted with me throughout, they answered all my questions. I couldn't have asked for a better service from when I arrived at hospital right through to my aftercare.

I would 100% recommend Werndale... I saw so much professionalism, friendliness, communication, and efficiency.

Leanne Walters

Recovering after surgery

After surgery, Leanne was taken to a recovery room and reassured the surgery was a huge success. She was offered a cup of tea while her consultant shared aftercare instructions in detail. She was given four different types of eyedrops to take at four different times of the day. Her healthcare team made sure to keep in touch with her while she recovered at home.

She says: "My consultant called me personally after surgery to ensure I was okay - such exceptional care". Leanne's vision immediately improved after surgery, and she was able to get back to doing things she hadn't enjoyed for a long time.

"I would say vision was immediately better. It took a few months to discover what my long term vision would be like. I was told at my follow-up appointment with my consultant and optician that my eyesight was the best it had been in many years." - Leanne Walters

Leanne would recommend Werndale to anyone

Leanne has had a new lease of life since surgery and can't quite believe how clear her vision now is.

"I'm no longer anxious and feel so much relief that the team at Werndale did their job to such a high standard. It was a complex surgery, but they believed in their expertise and delivered.

I would 100% recommend Werndale. From my initial appointment to cleanliness all the way through to my recovery, I saw so much professionalism, friendliness, communication, and efficiency." - Leanne Walters

Book your consultation at The Werndale Hospital

If you would like to know more cataract removal surgery or book a consultation with a specialist to discuss your eye problem, you can call our friendly advisory team for more details, or book an appointment with us online.

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How do I book an appointment?

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on this subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Circle Hospital.