Lens Replacement SurgeryJuly 2021
Jo Ruxton is the founder of environmental charity Ocean Generation as well as a celebrated film-maker and producer who previously worked on the BBC’s Blue Planet and filmed the award winning documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’. Growing up on different islands across the globe, she developed a strong passion for conserving and protecting our ocean, and grew increasingly concerned when she observed the growing threat of marine plastic pollution over the past decades.
With single-use plastic contact lenses and glasses playing a part in the widespread damage to our ocean, Jo was keen to opt for a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly vision correction solution and decided to opt for lens replacement surgery at Optical Express in order to reduce her own plastic footprint.
“I’ve grown up on 7 different islands in 5 different countries and the ocean has always been a big part of my life. I’m a very keen swimmer, I’m a keen diver as well, and I studied marine biology, and it was just my passion right from the very early days. So, to see what’s happening in our oceans, with pollution, with coastal development, and particularly with plastic going into them, I really wanted to do something about it,” she explains. To help conserve and protect our ocean, Jo founded Ocean Generation, a charity aimed at empowering and educating young people in order to build the next generation of budding ocean conservationists.
Wearing contact lenses and glasses for more than 30 years, Jo grew increasingly conscious of the fact that her vision correction choices were contributing to the issue of plastic pollution in our ocean. “I can hardly imagine how much plastic waste I’ve contributed into the system,” she comments. Also finding them to be an inconvenience during her work as a producer of various underwater wildlife documentaries, she was keen to opt for a more sustainable alternative that would give her complete freedom from contact lenses and glasses: “Considering what I need to take with me when we’re on location to make sure that I can see is always quite an issue when I’m packing. I’ve worn my contact lenses underwater but there have been times when I’ve taken the wrong ones with me, when I’ve run out, or when something’s gone wrong and I’ve lost them.”
Booking in for lens replacement surgery at Optical Express, Jo was treated by world-leading ophthalmic surgeon Dr Jan Venter: “What a gentle, kind soul that man is, and he was amazing the way he spoke to me, the way he described things. I felt as if I was part of the process, but I was so happy that everything was in his hands.” She has now woken up in amazement of her vision every single day since receiving surgery, commenting that it has made a world of difference. “There have been so many things that I’ve noticed, but I think the main one is how well I can see and how much better than I’ve seen over the past 30 years. Even with really good contact lenses or very expensive glasses,” she says.
While she is delighted with her hassle-free vision, Jo is even more ecstatic to know that she won’t be contributing to the vast amount of plastic waste in our ocean any longer. “The fact that I’m no longer contributing to the plastic problem means so much to me because it’s the life I’ve been living for the last 13 years,” she comments. When asked if she would recommend vision correction surgery to others looking for a more sustainable alternative to glasses and contact lenses, Jo didn’t hesitate: “I would say do it, don’t take my word for it, get it done and you’ll be an advocate for it. I’m going to say something that I think everyone says after surgery: Why didn’t I get this done years ago? Not just for my own eye health, because I could have saved so much hassle, but also because of our beautiful ocean.”