A typical patient is someone who is around 55 years old, is dependant on glasses but doesn’t want to be. Then, of course, there are patients with cataracts, which is a medical issue. I’ve met some lovely people over the years, operating on politicians, sports stars, doctors, cleaners – people from all walks of life.
One of my favourite stories is 24 year old night stacker at a supermarket. He was extremely shortsighted and wore coke bottle glasses, and his self-confidence was pretty low. I performed laser vision correction on him, and he told me his confidence just soared after that. He felt he could face the world, and in fact went on to do an MBA. I’m proud of that one.
Another story I tell is of one of my assistants. A few years ago, she decided to have laser eye surgery. But that week, 3 patients who came to see me for laser eye surgery found out they needed cataract surgery instead. When I performed cataract surgery on them, all three were thrilled that they no longer needed reading glasses, and that they probably would never need them again. My assistant then decided that she wanted new lenses, like those happy cataract patients, rather than LASIK! Refractive lens exchange had just started to happen around the world, but her and I were the one of the first in Australia.
Other patients I enjoy are those who have multi-focal lens implants. Not everyone is right for them, because they take a bit of getting used to, much like multi-focal glasses, but the happy ones can’t believe their luck – they can see both at a distance and up close, and their dependence on glasses is very low. Often, their friends then start coming to see me, once they’ve learned what’s now available to improve people’s eyesight.