Reginald Freeman, made a call to Specsavers on the High Street after he noticed a significant loss of vision in his left eye as well as image distortion. With all routine eye examinations currently suspended, the store is providing urgent and essential care to those who need it. He was triaged over the phone by optometrist, José AngelMoral-Tajadura who knew that Mr Freeman needed to come into the store for further investigation.
Arriving at the store half an hour later, JoséAngel carried out an eye test using an OCT (optical coherence tomography) machine. This uses light to take more than 1,000 images of the back of the eye and beyond, looking right back to the optic nerve and creating a cross-section view. Digital retinal photography was also used to take a photo of the back of Mr Freeman’s eye while drops and a slit lamp helped to dilate the pupil so that back of the eye could be checked in more detail.
Thanks to this high level of diagnostic capability, José Angel was able to see that there was a significant retinal bleed, a swollen optic nerve and lots of fluid underneath the macula, the central part of the retina, in Mr Freeman’s left eye. This was most likely due to a blockage of the central vessel caused potentially by a systemic problem and Mr Freeman needed urgent hospital treatment to avoid losing his sight.
A word from optometrist, José Angel
‘I called Cheltenham Hospital to explain that the situation was urgent and then typed up a letter detailing what I’d found during the eye examination for Mr Freeman to take with him, as well as sending a copy to his GP,’ says José Angel.
‘I knew it was important for Mr Freeman to be seen as soon as possible, so I stayed in regular contact with him as well as the hospital to make sure the letter had been received. The hospital was able to see him the next day for an initial assessment and he now has a follow up appointment with the retinal vein occlusion clinic for treatment. To help identify if there is an underlying health issue which is causing the blockage, Mr Freeman is also having a series of blood tests.’
A word from Mr Feeman
‘Specsavers was one of the only high street opticians open, so I was delighted that they were able to see me just 30 minutes after my initial call to the store,’ said Mr Freeman. ‘I was thoroughly impressed with José Angel’s professionalism and would like to say thank you so much for the level of service you provided, especially taking into account the current Coronavirus situation. I am very grateful.’
Open for care
Specsavers' teams are classed as key workers to provide urgent and essential eye care to those who need it. That includes supporting other key workers who couldn’t function without their help and people who would come to harm without their health expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.
In a UK first, Specsavers has also launched a free nationwide sight and hearing consultation service offering access to vital advice and care from optometrists and audiologists, via video and telephone link. The service, called Specsavers RemoteCare, is designed to cover concerns ranging from eye health and changes in the quality of sight, to contact lens aftercare and audiology health and aftercare.