Free eye op for Wigan social care officer

Cleo Byrne
Cleo Byrne

A social care officer no longer needs to worry about driving to visit her patients after being given the gift of 20:20 vision.

Cleo Byrne, 26, was among the NHS workers chosen to receive free laser eye surgery from eye care experts Optical Express as part of its Thanks A Million campaign.

Having worn glasses from the age of 10 and contact lenses for the last eight years, Cleo had looked into laser eye surgery and even went for a consultation in 2018.

But cash constraints, along with saving for a new car for work, meant she was unable to fulfil her dream.

Cleo’s job involves visiting patients at homes across the borough, meanin hours on the road every day. But over the years, she noticed her eyesight becoming progressively worse and found it difficult to read house numbers from her car.

Not only did her vision affect her job, but Cleo, from Hawkley Hall, would regularly experience pain when dust and dirt from the homes she visited entered her contact lenses.

She said: “At times, I had to stop my home visits as dust would enter my eye meaning I could no longer drive. On some occasions, I’d have to ring a friend to come and pick me up and take me to an optician for an emergency supply of lenses.”

Since having surgery in both eyes, Cleo has been able to work much more efficiently as she is no longer worried about her eyesight.

She said: “Having laser eye surgery has completely transformed my working life. Gone are the days of dry and itchy eyes, I can now focus on my patients without being distracted by my contact lenses.

“Not only that, but thanks to Optical Express and its Thanks A Million initiative, I have saved the money I spent on contact lenses and finally bought my dream car which is much more energy efficient and has reduced my petrol costs.”

The campaign rewards NHS and emergency service workers, after a survey found the public felt they were the most deserving of thanks.