Professor Jonathan Moore with Mark Hegan at the Cathedral Eye Clinic.
Mark Hegan's life has been transformed by the Mplus procedure
LOCAL man Mark Hegan went through a transformation of epic proportions to land a part on blockbuster series Game of Thrones. He said pals "had to do a double-take" when they saw him sporting long hair and a bushy beard, which took six months to grow, for his role as an extra on the show which is filmed in Northern Ireland.
But the biggest step in the 59-year-old's new look was corrective eye surgery to make him free of glasses and contact lens, making the stint on set a breeze.
He explained: "I was very short-sighted; I would either have had to wear glasses or contact lens, and contact lens for a 14-hour day start to become a bit irritable.
"So, by getting this procedure, when the opportunity to do an extra in a Game of Thrones came, it was 'I can do this, because I don't need glasses'. It made life a lot easier in that environment.
I hard to grow my hair and a beard for it from July 6 - hideous. It was had before Christmas last year I was able to cut the hair after they did a wrap.
If I hadn't seen somebody for a couple of months they'd do a double-take and say 'what's going on?'
"This was the second series and the third series will probably start in July this year.
"I was directly behind Alfie Allen, Lily Allen's brother, for the whole day in this one scene.
"If someone had told me a year or so ago that I'd have completely cured my eyesight and be starring in a Hollywood blockbuster I would have said, 'right, put £500. down there as a bet, because I'll win it I'd have said get me a bottle of whatever you're drinking, because you're deluding yourself!"
But appearing in the mega TV series, which also stars Lena Headey and Michelle Fair-ley, wasn't the only reason Mark decided to undergo the op at Belfast's Cathedral Eye Clinic.
Mark, who had been wearing glasses since primary school, needed to do it to safeguard his eyesight.
He said: "I knew I had a cataract, my optician had told me and I knew at some point that I was going to have an operation to get it removed. "I decided to visit he team at Cathedral Eye Clinic in Belfast for an assessment to see if there was anything that they could do to help. They told me about the Mplus procedure and advised that this would be the best option for me.
"'My short-sightedness improved and like many patients I now have better than 20-20 vision following the short procedure.
"I also had a large amount of astigmatism in both eyes, and that has been fixed. So three things have been corrected - I feel like a new man."
And Mark said the result has been life-changing for him.
He said: "People used to tell me to shut up, because I went on and on about it. I just stood in the window and watched the sun and the light and everything and I just went 'wow'.
"The change is incredible and on my final, check up I was told that I had the eyesight of a 30-year-old."