Jane opens her eyes to a new life

FOUR years ago, Jane McDonald had surgery to improve her sight. She tells Grace Hammond how it changed her life.

Life has never looked better for Wakefield-born singer and TV star Jane McDonald. Since undergoing pioneering eye surgery to restore her deteriorating vision four years ago, Jane’s career has rocketed, her fan base is rising and she has been reunited with her childhood sweetheart.

The former ITV’s Loose Women presenter, who plays Sheffield’s City Hall in September, underwent ReSTOR lens micro-surgery after being diagnosed with presbyopia – an age-related loss of vision which occurs naturally in most people when they reach their forties. The surgery transformed her life and boosted her career, says the 48-year-old.

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“The surgery opened up a new world to me. I was able to take on more work because my eyes were less tired, and it has been fantastic. My only regret is that I waited to so long have my eyes done,” says Jane.

“You take your eyes for granted until you start to lose your vision. I had very poor sight. I couldn’t see without my glasses. The first thing I had to do each morning was put on my glasses.

“During the day, I would wear contact lenses, glasses – and sometimes both. I had prescription sunglasses and reading glasses. Having to wear contact lenses for more than 17 hours each day made my eyes very sore and uncomfortable.

“I was a little apprehensive at first but having the ReSTOR lens surgery was the best thing I have ever done.”

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Jane shot to fame after appearing in BBC’s fly-on-the-wall show, The Cruise, 14 years ago. Her debut album spent three weeks at No 1 in the UK charts, she appeared in the West End musical, Romeo and Juliet, and began touring the UK before becoming a regular daytime presenter on Loose Women. The twice-married Yorkshire-born diva is engaged to Eddie Rothe, former drummer with the ’60s’ pop group The Searchers. The couple, who first dated when they were teenagers, met again by chance three years ago when The Searchers were in the studio next to where Jane was filming Loose Women. Eddie popped the question on Christmas Eve 2008.

“Ed’s been so patient. He’s fantastic, adorable and we’re having such a great time together; we are not rushing to get married,” said Jane.

“I love this one more than I ever loved the others and I don’t want to jinx it. In any case, I can’t afford to get divorced again.”

Last year, Jane decided to take a break from Loose Women to recharge her batteries and focus on her musical career. Programme-makers have left the door open for her to return at a later date.

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“I was there seven years and needed a rest from the busy filming schedule so I could concentrate on my tour and try other things. I’ve been amazed at the offers of work that have rolled in since I left.”

She is a regular on The Alan Titchmarsh Show and narrates C4’s Celebrity Five Go to... Her revamped website registered 48,000 hits in the first three days.

Jane kick-started her UK-wide tour in May and is appearing at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, September 18.

“I reinvent myself to keep the show fresh. I would never change it too much because my fans expect me to sing certain songs,” said Jane, who has recruited fresh talent for her 2011 concerts, including X-Factor contestant Daniel Pearce, a new musical director and backing singers.

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“I feel like I’ve woken up and all of a sudden it is all happening again. I am genuinely having fun again. I’m more confident than I have ever been. “Some people are afraid of getting old but the last two or three years with my vision restored have been the best for me and my career.”


* Presbyopia is the medical name for age-related long-sightedness.

* It is a normal part of ageing, and not a disease.

* The problem can be corrected by wearing reading glasses or contact lenses or by surgery.

* Jane MacDonald had Acrysof ReSTOR lens implanted.

* This ReSTOR lens can correct pre-existing astigmatism, significantly reduce halos around lights at night and enable patients to see all distances, including the middle range.

* Find out more about ReSTOR at www.uk.alcon.com/surgical/cataract.asp, or call free: 0500 829 248.