Ieva Bikulica was born six weeks premature and had an abnormal blood vessel formation in her eye. Photo: Optegra Eye Health Care.
A woman whose vision has always been a challenge due to her eyes not being fully formed when she was born prematurely, has received successful treatment from new laser eye surgery.
Ieva Bikulica, 30 from Romford, was born six weeks premature and her eyes grew to an abnormal shape leaving her extremely short-sighted.
In addition, an abnormal blood vessel formation in her eye, which is very common for premature babies, caused damage to her retina.
Due to get married this year, Ieva took advantage of new advances in technology, in particular SMILE, the third generation of laser eye surgery which means her vision has been corrected despite weakness and previous surgery.
After three decades in glasses, Ieva said the three-minute operation, “literally changed my life”.
She said: “I felt almost blind really, I just could not do anything without glasses, and I did try contact lenses three years ago, but because of my strong prescription I needed monthly ones which needed to be washed every day.
“It was so much hassle and my eyes were getting very tired, red and dry.
“I did not expect there would ever be a day that I could open my eyes and see without glasses on, and now that day has come.”
Half of premature babies suffer poor vision or unhealthy eyes due to their eyes not being fully developed or high risk of abnormal blood vessels.
Alex Shortt, consultant eye surgeon at Optegra Eye Hospital London, said: “Premature babies often have bleeding in the eye, as Ieva did, as the blood vessels within the eyes have not properly formed.
“In Ieva’s case the bleeding in her eye led to scar tissue in the eyes at the time of birth.
“All these factors mean that the advice her mother was given at the time, that Ieva would always need glasses or contacts to help her see clearly was correct. However, thanks to advances in technology, once the eyes are fully formed – around the age of 20-21 years, we can now take steps to help with more complex cases and higher prescriptions.”