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Team 21: Michelle Downes – We Become 21


At -3.5 in both eyes, everything is dangerously hazy without my arsenal of optical wear (glasses, prescription sun glasses, contacts, contacts case, and solution). I tote it around religiously – I need to make sure that I am armed for every eventuality!

London life for most twenty-somethings abides by the age-old mantra of ‘work hard, play hard.’ There is not enough hours in the week to get through the growing pile of laundry-never mind having to worry about attending eye appointments and ordering contacts before the current supply runs out!

So I was very excited when I heard that I was going to become the 21st member of Team 21. Both the consultation with my surgeon and the FAQ session with the Optical Express team at the launch event ensured that any brimming fears have been quelled.

My initial consultation lasted two hours and I was told that it would be the most intensive round of eye tests that I will ever receive! Optical Express also provides everyone with a mentor in the run up to surgery – their friendly mentors are on hand to help and answer any other questions that might come to mind.

It is also standard procedure to provide all patients with a 24-hour contact number post-surgery. This is on top of a 24-hour, one-week, and one-month check-up after the surgery. The quality of follow-up care has definitely put me at ease.

I have also been informed that the actual procedure will only last a few minutes and it has been described as much more pleasant than a trip to the dentist – this is great news of course!

At the Team 21 event, I was informed that there is an opportunity to donate your glasses to be sent to help people in developing countries. I think it is fantastic that my glasses don’t have to become completely redundant after the procedure; instead they can go towards enhancing someone else’s quality of life.

The procedure coincides with the week of my birthday so near 20/20 vision will be a wonderful treat!

As a scientist, I have done my research and I currently feel very calm and collected. I will let you know how it actually goes down (November 30th), so watch this space!

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