Francis Rossi health: Status Quo star’s eyesight saved by surgery – ‘they weren’t right’

BBC Breakfast: Francis Rossi says ‘I should get off now’

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Ready to appear on James Martin’s Saturday Morning today (Saturday, January 29), Rossi is the only remaining original member of Status Quo still alive, after the sad passing of bandmate Rock Parfitt back in 2016. Yet at the age of 72 himself, Rossi has had some health battles of his own to deal with, most recently his cataract operation after his corrective laser eye surgery back in 2015 didn’t prevent longer-term problems from occurring.

Speaking to The Mirror about his dwindling eyesight, Rossi confessed that the reason he wears sunglasses is due to bright lights he was subject to after his cataract operation.

“I used to think everyone was just showing off with them. But after my cataract operation I was like, ‘Oh, I see… it’s really bright’,” he explained.

After five decades in show business, Rossi’s problems with his eyesight started when he was having trouble seeing a crossword on paper.

Admitting that he was having “trouble seeing”, the rockstar went to the opticians where he was given a pair of reading glasses to try and overcome his struggles.

However, Rossi’s eyesight problems were not easily fixed. He went on to explain: “The reading glasses he gave me were like they’d gotten Vaseline smeared across the lens.

“I knew they weren’t right, even though he kept insisting they were.”

Fed up with his continuing struggle, Rossi decided to have corrective laser eye surgery – a procedure that aims to correct poor vision, meaning that individuals do not have to wear glasses or contact lenses.

The NHS explains that laser eye surgery is suitable for most people over the age of 18 whose eye prescription has stayed the same for about two years.

The surgery involves lasers to reshape the front surface (cornea) of your eyes, so that individuals can focus better. It is also possible to correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism via the surgery.

Although having saved his eyesight in 2015, five years later Rossi was in urgent need of cataract surgery.

The Mayo Clinic adds that a cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window.

This “cloudy” vision can make it difficult for individuals to read, drive or recognise their friend’s and family’s faces.

Although slow developing, when cataracts do interfere with your vision individuals may find it hard to complete daily tasks and take part in their usual activities. Therefore, cataract surgery is often needed.

Other typical signs and symptoms indicating a cataract includes:

  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision in a single eye.

Although deciding to have another operation to save his eyesight, Rossi confessed to feeling some nerves before the procedure, urging surgeons to not explain the somewhat gruesome details of the surgery.

He said: “I was thinking, ‘Don’t f***ing explain it… I’ll be out of here like a shot!'”

However, after the surprisingly quick and extremely effective surgery, the star has completely changed his view: “Now I tell everyone they should have it done because it’s such a big plus,” he continued.

“I don’t wear glasses any more. When you hear people talk about cataracts it’s almost like someone saying, ‘You’re going to have your testicles cut off.’

“But the thing people should realise is it’s so b* quick, it only takes a couple of minutes. If all surgical procedures were that quick I’d have everything done.”

His operation, which was carried out at the London Cataract Centre involved replacing the clouded lens behind the iris with an artificial one. Most individuals who have cataract surgery remerge with “very good eyesight”, explained eye surgeon David Allamby, who added that the procedure is carried out around 400,000 times in the UK every year.

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