A former accountant at Tring’s Pendley Manor Hotel has become one of the first people in the country to receive a new kind of sight-saving surgery.
Retired Elizabeth Branwhite, 64, developed debilitating floaters in her eyes which seriously impaired her vision, and was told by NHS doctors that she would soon no longer be able to drive or enjoy Skype conversations with her grandchildren in Australia.
But after reading an article about a breakthrough in laser eye surgery, Elizabeth had a consultation at the London Eye Hospital in Harley Street and signed up for the pioneering treatment.
She said: “I was losing my independence, I retired at the end of 2005 and I’ve got a car, but I could only drive locally - I couldn’t travel any long distances because I would just get too tired.
“I tried the NHS for treatment, but was told that I would just have to live with it.One doctor told me that I would know when I would have to give up driving.”
But after the 20-minute laser treatment, the floaters – which are membranes which cast a shadow on the retina of the eye – have completely disappeared and Elizabeth and her husband Brian, 68, can now look forward to the future.
She said: “It has given me a new lease of life, I can get out and about and do the things I enjoy again.”
After her first round of treatment - which can get rid of floaters despite their positioning on the eye - Elizabeth was able to travel to Australia to visit her daughter Vicky, 37, and her grandchildren Isabelle, seven, and Charlie, five, who moved to Perth in 2012.
The Branwhites live in Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, and Brian runs his surveying firm from Western Road in Tring.