Queen’s Nurse Joanne Reynard’s
latest challenge, as infection control nurse in the face of Covid, led her to a personal health decision to improve her own safety during the pandemic.
After wearing glasses every day since the age of seven – and contact lenses while 14 years in the RAF - Jo has wanted laser eye surgery for years but was nervous to proceed.
Her mum Ann who is 77 years old, recently had laser eye surgery following a cataract procedure, and reassured Jo there was ‘nothing to it’.
“Well if my mum can do it at 77, there is no reason for me not to – that was the real turning point,” says the 50-year-old from Bradford.
The other factor was Covid. As a nurse of 32 years, Jo spent most of 2020 helping people understand how to protect themselves from the virus.
“I have been involved in lots of different elements of Covid nursing since March – from helping people avoid it in the early days, to treating patients and now thankfully helping immunize people with vaccines. It is fantastic to now be on the prevention side of things.
“But all the way through I have been very conscious of touching my face and eyes – it’s the reason I stopped wearing contact lenses.
“But putting my glasses on and off all the time has been a real struggle.”
She added: “Covid as a virus is not going to jump onto people’s faces but the T-zone of eyes, nose and mouth is a high-risk area. As a nurse, working with Covid patients all week long, I was really very aware of not touching my face – but with my varifocal glasses, I was forced to put them on and off all day long.
“Plus with the additional protective glasses or visor – it was just too much steaming up and not being able to see well enough.”
Since laser eye surgery on both eyes at Optegra Eye Clinic in Leeds, Jo no longer needs glasses and feels so much safer
Consultant Mr. Shafiq Rehman, who performed the surgery, said: “I am particularly pleased to be able to treat a fellow healthcare professional, and ease her concerns about Covid-risk from having to touch her face so much due to her glasses.
“We are delighted she is so pleased with the outcomes and hope this will take away some of the pressure and stress of her dedicated work to help provide vaccines at this difficult time.”