“I was bullied at school because of my glasses and never felt confident in my glasses, but now eye surgery has restored my confidence” - The Solihull Observer

“I was bullied at school because of my glasses and never felt confident in my glasses, but now eye surgery has restored my confidence”

Leading businesswoman has implantable contact lens procedure.

Sometimes poor vision doesn’t just affect how you physically see the world, it can affect your self-confidence and wellbeing too.

That was certainly the case for Dominique Highfield, from Warwick. But now, thanks to Implantable Contact Lens surgery at specialist Optegra, she has a fresh spring in her step.

Dominique, 39, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Purple Bricks, has worn glasses since the age of six and has a very high prescription of -10.  This strong prescription meant a life dependent on glasses and contact lenses, needed from the moment of waking up.  And ten years ago she was told her sight was too poor to have vision correction surgery.

However, a recent optician visit informed her how much technology has advanced – and while she was still not suitable for laser eye surgery, experts at Optegra Eye Hospital Birmingham recommended Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery – and it has freed her from contacts and glasses once and for all.

An ICL, (also known as a phakic intraocular lens) is a tiny, soft lens which is placed in the eye between the natural lens and the iris, or between the iris and the cornea.

It is like wearing a contact lens inside your eye instead of on the surface and is practically invisible.

Dominique said:

“I basically relied entirely on thick glasses and then lived in contact lenses as soon as I was able to, but it meant wearing them for much longer every day than recommended.  I knew it was wrong and I would even lie to my optician about how much I wore them”.

Dominique Highfield.

Over the years, she found that wearing glasses and lenses affected her wellbeing.

“I was bullied at school due to my thick glasses (as well as retainers on my teeth) which really knocked my self-confidence. Recently, it has prevented me from being impromptu with friends or I would have to leave work events early as my eyes were sore and dry from wearing contact lenses too long. On the days I wore glasses, mainly at home, I would feel very self-conscious because the lenses were so thick that my eyes looked distorted.

“I would never wear glasses at work.  If I had an eye infection or something that prevented me from wearing lenses I would work from home and keep the camera off on video calls so colleagues couldn’t see me in my glasses.

“My children have got so used to the fact that I can’t see without my glasses that if they wake up in the night and need me, the first thing they do is pass me my glasses!”

Poor vision was also impacting on Dominique’s everyday life.

“I would be showering totally blind and not knowing which bottle was which; if my glasses fell off someone had to find them for me; if I had a facial or a massage, I would hold my glasses in my hand so if I had to get out quickly, like a fire alarm or emergency, I would be able to see.

“As a mother, I find myself catastrophising a lot and it worried me that if something bad happened I would have to look for my glasses first which might impact the safety of my children.”

The turning point came when Dominique had to bring a prop to work to tell a team-building story – she took her glasses and retainers and told everyone how she had been bullied as a child.

“Whilst my childhood experience has made me feel a little vain, it has made me want to harness belonging and inclusivity at work. Afterwards, our CEO told me that he had has life-altering laser surgery, and he prompted me to look into surgery options.”

Having previously been told 10 years ago that her eyesight was too bad for surgery, Dominque was also advised at her regular eye test to look into it again because technology had moved on. Further research led her to Optegra Eye Hospital Birmingham.

Mr. Maghizh Anandan, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra, said:

“While most people are suitable for laser eye surgery, there are some cases where the patient’s prescription is just too strong or too complex to guarantee excellent outcomes.  But the great news is that we have other options. And for Dominique, that was implantable contact lenses.

“This is a delicate procedure where we insert a very high quality and individually tailored lens – similar to the contact lenses which Dominique has been used to using for so many years – and place this within the eye on top of their natural lens.  This provides the focusing power they need at all distances. The results have been fantastic and have liberated her from all the visual supports which were needed.”

Dr Maghizh, Ophthalmologist – Optegra.

Dominque is absolutely delighted with hew new vision:

“I honestly cannot believe how much it has changed my life. Even within the procedure – I had to look at the bright light, which was so blurry at the start of the op. But by the end not only could I see the bright, clear light but even the metal rivets holding it in place! I was amazed at such a quick transformation.

“I keep going to take my glasses off and they are not there! Returning the frames to the opticians was a proud moment for me.

“I am amazed to look back and see how constricted and restricted I felt – my whole life was impacted without me really realizing the implications of it all. It’s such a liberating feeling to lose that dependency and I have so much more confidence now.

“My social life has improved, I can stay out at work functions or meet friends, I can see to help my children at night, I can swim with ease and more importantly see my children now when swimming!  It has freed up so many opportunities. I can’t wait for our next holiday when I don’t have to figure out how to get all my eye paraphernalia into a small plastic bag for my hand luggage – I am free from all that now!”

Dominique and her partner Simon have two young children, aged six and two, and enjoy family time together.  She also enjoys music and plays the harp and piano – which she can now enjoy without pushing glasses up to see the music. “I feel so liberated with my new 20:20 vision,” she said.

Optegra Eye Hospital Birmingham is part of Optegra Eye Health Care, a specialist provider of ophthalmic services. Established in 2007, with its first hospital opening in 2008, it has completed over one million eye procedures from its 39 eye hospitals and over 60 locations across the UK, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.

Optegra brings together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  It performs more than 140,000 treatments annually, both private and publicly funded. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes and great patient service.

Find out more at: www.optegra.com/birmingham

Book an laser eye surgery consultation here.  

Business Directory

From plumbers, to restaurants, we can provide you with all the info you need.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.


Weddings, Birthdays, Bereavements, Thank you notices, Marriages and more.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Solihull Observer newspaper.