Skilled Specsavers staff have been praised for saving the life of a mum-of-three with a rare brain condition.
Megan Turner, 22, had been suffering debilitating headaches for months. She had seen specialists, but they could find nothing wrong.
She then booked an appointment for an eye test at the Exeter Specsavers store, where the optometrist noticed that Megan’s optic nerve was badly swollen.
Megan was urgently referred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where they found that Megan had intracranial hypertension, which is a build-up of pressure around the brain.
Intracranial hypertension can be the result of a severe head injury, stroke or brain abscess, but for Megan, there was no known cause.
Megan, from Moretonhampstead, said: ‘I’m extremely grateful to Specsavers. I’d been looking for answers to my headaches for months. If I hadn’t gone for my eye test, it could have ended very differently for me. I could have lost my vision completely – or even died.
‘When I went to the store, the optometrist referred me to the hospital as urgent and I then had numerous procedures to reduce the pressure on my brain, which has essentially saved my life.
‘I’m so grateful. I’d seen many specialists for my headaches and loss of vision, but no one had detected the cause. Then I visited Specsavers, and now I have a future.
‘You just don’t expect to get a diagnosis like I had. I’m getting married next year. I have so much to look forward to.’
Specsavers recommends that everyone should have an eye test at least once every two years, and more often if there are any changes to your vision or eyes.
During the eye test, the optometrist used an Optical Coherence Tomography machine.
The machine, usually found in hospital eye departments, produces a structural scan of the eye, including layers of the eye which would not normally be visible using traditional eye testing techniques, helping to identify signs of diseases years earlier than traditional methods.
A word from the ophthalmic director
Scott McGowan, the store’s ophthalmic director, says: ‘Positive outcomes such as Megan’s are the highlight of what we do here. It’s wonderful to know the impact our diagnosis had on her life.
‘It's so heartening to see that by keeping up with her routine eye tests, our optometrist was able to pick up the early signs of Megan’s condition and could refer her for treatment at an early stage.
‘I hope that stories like Megan’s can encourage others to keep up with their regular eye health checks as part of their sight test – because not everyone realises that the sight test is more than just whether you need glasses or not. We're really happy to have been able to help Megan.’
The optometrists at Specsavers Exeter have accreditations in glaucoma and minor eye conditions (MECs). It means the store can offer eye health services to help manage a number of eye conditions, allowing more people to be treated in store rather than having to go to their GP or hospital.
Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services.
To book an appointment at Specsavers Exeter, visit the store at 247-248 High Street, Exeter. Alternatively, telephone 01392 210 604 or log onto www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/exeter.