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Regaining Sight, Regaining Independence: Isabella De La Croix’s Journey

After her husband passed away and she retired in 1996, Isabella moved to Cardiff to be closer to family. "I wanted to be near my granddaughter," she explains. But with age, her independence began to wane—spondylitis inflicted severe pain from her neck down to her spine, and deteriorating eyesight further stripped away her autonomy. "I can’t go anywhere because without your eyes, you can’t do anything. I lost my confidence," Isabella recalls.

We Are Able - Isabella's Story - YouTube

A Turning Point

Once an avid embroiderer and driver, Isabella found herself unable to participate in her favourite activities. Medical appointments became too difficult to attend. However, a simple advert about in-home eyecare services offered a glimmer of hope. This led her to Kamal Kalsi, a domiciliary optometrist with OutsideClinic and an active member of the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

Kamal recalls their first meeting, "She seemed quite low," but he quickly identified cataracts as the culprit behind her failing vision. Initially reluctant, Isabella continued as she was until Kamal’s next visit to her a year later. "Her vision had worsened; I knew it was time to act on these cataracts."

Transformation Through Care

Post-surgery, the change was profound. "The smile on her face was unbelievable," Kamal shares. Isabella’s renewed ability to enjoy knitting, crocheting, and even new hobbies like crystal craft speaks volumes about the impact of effective and accessible eye care.

Kamal who has provided eye care in his community with OutsideClinic for 22 years, has received instrumental support from the AOP throughout his career. Starting as a student from overseas, the AOP’s guidance has come full circle, and he now serves as a council member, representing Wales, and helping others in the field. 

OutsideClinic Optometrist Kamal Kalsi
OutsideClinic Optometrist Kamal Kalsi

More Than Medical Help

Isabella's story isn’t just about her eyesight; it's about the joy and independence that she has regained. "I’ve got a wheelchair and a stair lift, which help tremendously. I couldn’t climb up the stairs before, and it helped me a lot," she mentions. Her carer helps, but Isabella prides herself on maintaining as much independence as possible, keeping busy with her crafts.

Isabella gaining independence
Isabella gaining independence

Looking forward, Isabella is optimistic. "I’m looking forward to getting better and going on holidays," she smiles. Isabella’s experience serves as a powerful example of how caring and attentive healthcare can significantly improve the quality of life for someone in their later years.

Schedule an eye test with OutsideClinic today and experience the convenience of personalised, professional eye care in the comfort of your own home.

In collaboration with the charity WeAreAble and AOP, OutsideClinic optometrist, Kamal Kalsi and his patient Isabella developed an inspiring video about the difference an at home eye care service can make to the lives of people like Isabella. Watch Isabella's story here. 


Did you know that an astonishing 30% of individuals aged 65 and above are estimated to have a visually impairing cataract in one or both eyes? That's nearly a third of our older population!

But don't worry, over 90% of cataract cases can be successfully treated, like Isabella's. This means that if you or a loved one are part of that 30%, there's a high chance that your vision can be restored or even improved. Click here for further information about cataracts including: what they are, the symptoms and how they are treated. 

About WeAreAble 

The purpose of the We Are Able campaign is to change the conversation around vulnerability and empower more people to live safe, independent lives at home. Their hub highlights the best, most practical information on everyday adjustments that can enable people to continue enjoying life at home. Find our more about WeAreAble. 

About AOP 

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. They support over 82% of practicing optometrists, to fulfill their professional roles to protect the nation's eye health. Find out more about AOP. 

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If you have any questions, please call our friendly team on 0800 60 50 40.

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