North Belfast lady Ruth Kelly woke up one Saturday morning during lockdown to discover she couldn’t see through her left eye. It was such a shock and Ruth didn’t know what was wrong.

Ruth explains: ‘I get my eyes tested regularly at the Abbeycentre store and knowing that Specsavers was open for urgent and essential care, my husband Tom phoned to explain the situation and I was asked to come straight up for an urgent appointment.’

Ruth’s situation an emergency

Tony McGinn says: ‘Ruth’s situation was very much an emergency. After a full examination of her eyes, I detected a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack or mini-stroke) had taken place in the eye. Effectively the artery in her left eye had been blocked which caused the loss of vision. I phoned the eye casualty at the Royal Victoria Hospital and advised them of Ruth’s condition and arranged an urgent appointment.’ 

Tests carried out at hospital’s Stroke Unit

At the Royal, eye specialists carried out a number of tests and procedures on Ruth before she was referred to the hospital’s Stroke Unit. ‘Following the tests, I was given blood thinners to prevent me from having a full-blown stroke,’ she said. 

‘I’m really lucky that I was diagnosed early as members of my family have suffered strokes and heart attacks and it could have happened to me had I not visited Tony at Specsavers. While I do have high blood pressure, I don’t smoke or drink alcohol and I certainly didn’t realise my sight loss was as a result of a mini-stroke.’

Ruth expresses her thanks to Tony

While doctors have indicated the sight in Ruth’s left eye won’t return to normal, she expressed her thanks to Tony for his care and hospital referral and to the doctors and nurses in both the eye and stroke units at the Royal Victoria Hospital. ‘I’m doing much better now and will be monitored regularly at hospital with checks and scans,’ she said.

‘My husband Tom has been fabulous throughout this time as have our sons Tom and Andrew.’

Store open for wider care

‘All our Northern Ireland stores are now open for a wider range of services but customers unable to come to the store can still access care and support through Specsavers RemoteCare video and telephone consultation service, and Specsavers Ask The Expert Facebook group.’


All Newtownabbey store information


Back to News