The gift of sight

New lens gives near, middle and distance vision – and no glare.

A UK hospital has become the first in the world to fit a new type of optic lens that promises to restore perfect sight to potentially millions of patients.

The first patient to have LEH Trifocal lenses fitted was 74-year-old tennis coach Martin Ashenden from central London. Ashenden had been diagnosed with cataracts which were getting worse and the only treatment available on the NHS would have left him wearing glasses. He said: “The NHS would only be able to offer me an operation to correct my distance vision and I’d have to wait months for that.”

The procedure was performed by Bobby Qureshi, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and medical director of the London Eye Hospital. London Eye Hospital on Harley Street fitted the first LEH Trifocal lens this April, only a week after it was given regulatory approval. The new lens is a major step forward for multifocal lenses, which have been in use in their current form for more than a decade. Previous lenses have had to find a compromise between poor intermediate vision and glare or halos often experienced at nights, especially when driving.

Having been given little hope by the NHS procedures available, Ashenden was able to meet the consultant quickly and arrange for the life-changing procedure.

“The London Eye Hospital saw me in two days and Mr Qureshi suggested the new LEH Trifocal lenses would be suitable for my eyes, despite having a slight astigmatism in one eye. Within four days I’d had my first eye done,” he said.

”I had anaesthetic drops in my eye then the whole thing was done in minutes. I couldn’t feel a thing. In fact it felt like nothing was happening! The old lens was removed and the LEH Trifocal lens fitted. I wore a patch over my eye for the first night but that was it – not even any discomfort or a headache.

A real difference

“My eyesight is now perfect again. It was very good for both middle and distance vision and my close-up vision improved rapidly over a few days. Once I’d had my second eye done two weeks later, it was just remarkable how good my vision was

“It’s made a real difference to my life – everything is bright and clear. Now I can go travelling and see everything from information screens in airports to scenery and vistas. I go to America regularly to see my grandchildren and now I can enjoy being with them far more.

“All the sight problems that were getting on my nerves are gone and it’s like I’m starting a new life. I’m looking forward to many more years of tennis!”

The LEH Trifocal lens is suitable for anyone in their late 30s or older who has long or short sight, even if they have astigmatism. The lens is also suitable for anyone with cataracts, so millions of people who currently wear glasses or contact lenses could benefit – especially if previously they have avoided surgery due to the prevalence of glare problems after having traditional multifocal lenses fitted.

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