When Kidderminster resident, Louise Bagnall, was being plagued with eye pain she decided to get some advice from her local opticians. She had no idea that the visit would help uncover a rather alarming foreign body embedded in her cornea (the front part of her eye).
Living in lockdown
During lockdown, 54-year-old Louise, who also has impaired hearing, was fixing her hoover when a piece of plastic shattered in her face. Not realising at the time that some had made its way into her eye, she started to feel some discomfort. Continuing to experience irrtation and sensivity to bright light, Louise made an appointment at Specsavers in Kidderminster to get it checked.
‘I was very concerned as my eyes are also my ears,’ says Louise. ‘I’d already popped to the chemist to buy some eye drops and then went onto Specsavers. When I got to the store, I received a great welcome and every effort was made to ensure I understood everything when I explained that I was deaf.’
She was seen by the store’s optician, Jonathan Lee, who performed an eye examination and found a foreign body had entered Louise’s eye and tucked itself into the cornea.Realising how serious the situation was, Jonathan immediately referred Louise to Birmingham Medical Eye Centre (BMEC).
Louise explains: ‘At BMEC, I was seen by a specialistwho administered drops to numb my eye before using tweezers to remove the fragment, which was thought to be a piece of plastic. I was also prescribed ointment to use for a week to help the healing process.’
Support from Specsavers
The next day, Louise visited Specsavers again for reassurance. ‘I can’t express how wonderful the staff were,’ explains Louise. ‘Now that more and more people are having to wear masks, it prevents my ability to lip read and makes it very difficult to communicate.
‘My Hearing Dog, George is always a comfort to me, but it’s become even more beneficial to have him by my side to inform people that I’m deaf. The staff at Specsavers fully understood my predicament and changed to shields when they were with me. The irritation in my eye felt much better after a couple of days.’
‘We’re pleased to hear that Louise is no longer experiencing any discomfort in her eye,’ says Jonathan. ‘Cases like Louise’s highlight just how important eyesight is in everyday life. If you experience change in vision or eye pain, it’s important to get it checked straight away by an optician.’
Open with you in mind
Specsavers stores in England are now reopen for routine testing. To help manage social distancing, stores are encouraging customers to book an appointment in advance by phone or online via specsavers.co.uk. New hygiene and personal protection measures include restrictions on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time, strict social distancing rules and, where possible, card instead of cash payments.
In line with NHS guidance, Specsavers colleagues will use personal protective equipment (PPE) and all testing equipment and frames will be thoroughly sanitised after each use.
Specsavers has also introduced a new in-store role to reassure customers who may feel apprehensive about visiting the opticians after lockdown. The Customer Care Guide will greet customers on arrival and assist them through the new testing process, providing reassurance and answering any questions.
Customers unable to attend a store can still access care and support through Specsavers RemoteCare video and telephone consultation service, and Specsavers Ask The Expert Facebook group, while glasses and contact lenses can be bought online with a current prescription at specsavers.co.uk.