Solutions needed to help those requiring ophthalmic assistance

Dear Editor,
When I read in your letter column of Saturday, March 21 (‘It is unreasonable for NIS to require that senior citizens get prescriptions every three months from an ophthalmologist for glaucoma’) about the difficulties senior citizens experience in securing an appointment to see an ophthalmologist, I realised how lucky I was when I needed a cataract removed recently.  The letter ends with the words “…it seems lots of people will be getting blind very soon.”  This is unfortunately true and will cause a whole new set of problems.

Unfortunately, most of those needing cataract operations are elderly, no longer in the work force, existing on fixed incomes, probably unable to afford the expenses connected with such an operation.

I followed related links, and read letters written some time ago on the same subject which posed questions most prospective patients would like answered.  I had to attend two pre-op (assessment) appointments, roughly three weeks apart, and the procedures included drops being put in the eye.  We were handed notes defining a cataract:  “A cataract occurs when the lens situated behind the coloured part of the eye (the iris) becomes cloudy/opaque.  The light is unable to enter the eye and the vision is misty.”

My cataract was removed two weeks ago and I have to keep a follow-up appointment in a few days’ time.  The (no-fee-required National Health Service) operation itself, done under a local anaesthetic, lasted about 45 minutes.  A team of 6 attended, including a nurse who sat at the side of the trolley and held my hand throughout.  Post-surgery procedures included wearing a protective eye-dressing overnight and using eyedrops, supplied, 4 times daily.  To do this, I found tilting the head back, slightly at an angle, and inserting the drops from the corner close to the top of the nose, the easiest, most effective way.  Blinking and rolling the eye gave a complete wash.
Let us hope a solution is found soon to help those in need of ophthalmic assistance.
Yours faithfully,
G Dennison

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