A Dunstable 26-year-old who had become almost blind has been given back the precious gift of sight through a pioneering hospital service.
Life has never looked better for Kelly-Marie Killick since undergoing sight-saving laser surgery to her left eye, thanks to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
The L&D is now one of a handful of hospitals nationwide offering this life-changing NHS eye surgery.
And Kelly, of Gardners Close, was only the second person to undergo the special surgery via the L&D team, to remove corneal scarring.
The former Queensbury School student, who has had an eye condition called Reis-Bucklers since birth, said: “My whole life has changed. It has meant the world to me.”
This type of laser surgery offers new hope to patients with serious eye conditions and loss of sight.
Now Kelly can drive again, works as a childminder and her eyesight is almost perfect. She is on the waiting list for treatment to her right eye.
She is full of gratitude to L&D consultant eye surgeon Allon Barsam, who carried out the surgery.
A consultant at another hospital had previously told her nothing more could be done at that time.
So she was astonished when Mr Barsam said he could help.
“It was amazing for someone to say ‘you can have your sight back,” she said. “I tried not to get my hopes up, I thought ‘any result is better than my eyes are at the moment’. I stayed quite grounded and hoped for the best.”
But the transformation after the laser surgery last autumn was beyond anything she had dared to dream.
“My eyesight was amazing,” she said. “I could see so well with my left eye. It was fantastic. Before, it was like I was looking through a window that had been smeared with Vaseline.
I can’t remember my eyesight ever being this good. Everything was very clear.
“I’d like to say thank you to Mr Barsam and all the team – the work they do is absolutely amazing. I can never thank them enough. They literally changed my life.”
Mr Barsam trained at world centres of excellence in New York and London before joining the L&D team, and specialises in cornea, cataract and laser eye surgery.
He carried out Kelly’s surgery using laser equipment at a specialist centre in London.
Evaluation and pre and post operative care is carried out at the L&D.
Mr Barsam said: “I am overjoyed to be able to offer this to patients because it makes a big difference to their lives. It is a fantastic thing to be able to offer.”