A Derby man is thankful he went to Specsavers after a routine eye examination saved his sight.

Routine sight test
Craig Appleby, 32, visited the team at 22 Crown Walk for a routine test on Thursday 11 July. His optometrist, Akshay Lakhani, had concerns when he examined the back of the left eye. Although Craig reported no obvious symptoms, Akshay suspected a retinal tear and explained he would need to investigate further by dilating his pupils with eye drops. With his car parked in the city centre, and wife and two young children waiting downstairs, Craig was reluctant to have further tests, but agreed when Akshay explained the seriousness of his concerns.

Quick referral
‘When I dilated Craig’s pupils to establish a clearer view, there was no doubt that Craig had a tear in his retina, the sensitive layer at the back of the eye, along with some minor bleeding’ said Akshay. ‘I referred him immediately to the eye department at Royal Derby Hospital, where he was seen that afternoon. The retina is supposed to be stuck to the back of the eye like wallpaper on a wall, but with Craig’s left eye it was peeling away at the corner. This had resulted in a blind spot in Craig’s peripheral vision, which he had not noticed previously. If left untreated, the retina could have peeled away completely, leaving him with permanent sight loss.' 

Shock diagnosis
‘The diagnosis was a bit of a shock,’ said Craig. ‘I’d only popped in for a routine eye examination, so wasn’t expecting what followed. I work in front of a computer screen, so visit my opticians frequently. In fact, it was only a year ago I had my last sight test, so it really goes to show how quickly problems can develop and the importance of having your eyes tested regularly. I’m really grateful to Akshay. His insistence on carrying out a thorough examination, followed by his swift action to refer me to hospital has potentially saved the sight in my left eye. I can’t thank him enough.’

Craig had surgery the following week and will have check-ups every three months for a year to monitor the success of the treatment.

A word from the store director
Uan Gohil, store director at Specsavers Derby, added: ‘I am extremely pleased that Craig is on the road to recovery. Mr Appleby’s case demonstrates the importance of having thorough and regular eye examinations, even when you have no symptoms or issues with your sight.

‘Because we believe this is so important, and because we want to provide the best possible customer care, we have also invested in an optical coherence tomography scan at the store. The scan only takes a few seconds and allows our optometrists to look deeper into the eye than even before, helping us to detect treatable eye conditions sooner.

‘This investment gives our team the ability to enhance the services to the local community by helping to detect and manage conditions, with a level of diagnostic capability which previously would have needed a hospital visit.’

An OCT scan 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. It can help to detect treatable eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma sooner. The scan, which normally costs £10, will be offered for free with every standard eye test until 31 October 2019.

Research published by Specsavers and charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), shows one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable . The statistics also show that 300 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day.

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