Specsavers South Shields’ emergency eye care provision has only been in force since 23 March and has already proven invaluable for many key workers in need of eye tests and urgent advice.
The store has been on-hand to help several customers through emergency appointments since the store closed to all but essential and urgent eye care and has helped ensure key workers are able to continue to work.
One customer who phoned the store with symptoms of dark shadows and flashing lights in his right eye was instantly put through to optometrist Bryan Clark and diagnosed with a detached retina.
Specsavers immediately referred the patient to Sunderland Eye Infirmary as the diagnosis had to be dealt with in a matter of days.
Bryan, store director and optometrist at Specsavers South Shields, said: 'The patient was showing symptoms of a detached retina, thankfully he phoned the store and we were able to advise him right away.
'We are currently closed for business but open for care – this case shows just how important it is that those in the community, especially key workers, have access to an opticans. If this had gone undiagnosed then the patient could have gone blind in his eye right eye.
'Our job at the moment is to try and ease the burden on the hospitals like Sunderland infirmary and take the pressure off of frontline staff as much as possible.'
Specsavers staff are classed as key workers in order that they can provide this important emergency and essential eye care. This allows the store to support other key workers who couldn’t function without help and people who would come to harm without health expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.
Bryan adds: 'We are trying our best to limit any face-to-face contact by completing consultations through telephone, which is how we dealt with this case. All appointments which were booked in before the pandemic have been cancelled. When the store reopens, customers can get back in touch to reschedule their appointment.'
To speak to a member of the team or for emergency advice, please contact Specsavers South Shields on 0191 427 7272.
Specsavers has set up an Ask the Expert group on Facebook for people to ask our team of expert optometrists and audiologists questions they might have about their sight or hearing while our stores are open urgent and essential appointments only.