The father of a six-year-old girl has thanked the Berwick store for ‘going above and beyond’ to help his child after lockdown left them struggling to find urgent eye care.


James Bell-Taylor contacted the store when Sofia, his daughter, suffered a change in her eyesight which left her unable to see clearly, with or without her glasses.


The dad, from Belford, had initially contacted the Royal Victoria Infirmary, however, they were unable to confirm an appointment for several months due to the current COVID-19 crisis.


James says: ‘My daughter Sofia has been treated for a number of eyesight issues under the Royal Victoria Infirmary for a few years, however, due to current measures in place they were unable to see her. They could offer an appointment within three months but I had some immediate concerns around her deteriorating vision and didn’t feel we could wait.


‘Our family are looked after by the Specsavers Berwick branch, so I phoned up in the hope that they may be able to help.’


Thanks to the fact that Specsavers stores across the country remain open for urgent and essential eyecare only, in line with Government guidelines, store directors, Craig Bell, Nick Dawson and Vicky Davidson were on hand to assist.


James says: ‘I spoke to Craig who upon quick consultation with his colleagues arranged an immediate appointment within the hour. Sofia had the most thorough eye exam she has ever had, she was supported through the new experience of the machines and environment. She was made to laugh non-stop by the team all making her experience enjoyable.


‘Nick was brilliant as always, even going so far as to show Sofia all the images they had taken of her eyes and explaining everything they were doing and telling her how brave she was when she had to have drops in her eyes which can sometimes sting a bit.


‘During the whole process, gloves, masks and visors were all changed regularly and Sofia was also given PPE to wear which she thought was great. She now has nice new glasses with her new prescription which was a significant change from the previous. Most importantly, she can see properly again.


‘Thank you to all the team at Berwick for their continued hard work – their skills and knowledge are vital and we could not be more grateful.’

Specsavers' teams are classed as key workers as they provideurgent and essentialeye care to those who need it. This includes supporting other key workers – such as NHS staff and emergency services - who couldn’t function without help and people whowould come to harm without expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.

A word from the store director:

Nick Dawson says: ‘I’m delighted that we were able to help little Sofia and that she is able to see clearly again with her new glasses.


‘The current pandemic has changed how everyone operates on a day-to-day basis, but eye health remains a constant. Being unable to wear your regular prescription can cause eye strain and put people at risk of injury, so it is vital that we continue to help with urgent requests as they happen – whether in store or elsewhere.


‘If you need an urgent consultation because your condition is causing you distress, or preventing you from functioning as you normally would without our help, please call the store in the first instance or use Ask the Expert group on Facebook.’

Specsavers has set up an Ask the Expert group on Facebook for people to ask their team of expert optometrists and audiologists questions they might have about their sight or hearing while stores are open urgent and essential appointments only.

To speak to a member of the team or for emergency advice, please contact Specsavers Berwick on 01289 301 180.

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