An optician from Otley has had her sight-saving story captured on a national TV advert for Specsavers.


Sara Saunders, Ophthalmic Optician at Specsavers in Otley captured the attention of Specsavers’ in-house creative agency and is now being featured in a new 90-second TV ad, We Were There, which aired for the first time on ITV1 on Saturday 13 June. It tells the story of instore colleagues and customers during lockdown.


Sara's hard work was brought to light when she helped to save the sight of law student Holly Briggs, 19, who was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) with a stage 4 papilledema during the Covid-19 lockdown period and was urgently referred to St James' Hospital for immediate surgery to save her sight. The story was published in several local papers.


The student experienced blurriness and black shadows in her vision before she booked in to see Sara at Specsavers in Otley. Thanks to the eye test, Ms Briggs is now recovering from surgery. The instore team are classed as key workers and able to provide urgent and essential eye care during lockdown.


Specsavers' teams across the UK have been helping people like Ms Briggs who needed urgent care during the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes supporting other key workers who couldn’t function without their help and people who would come to harm without their health expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.

A word from Sara 


Sara Saunders, store partner at Specsavers in Otley, says: ‘I’m really proud of the work that my team has carried out over the last few months during these unprecedented times, and it’s really fulfilling to know that our expertise and quick thinking saved Ms Briggs sight.


‘The advert tells the stories of people like her, who’ve needed our help during lockdown, and the lengths that our key workers have gone to in helping out local people, communities and charities in these difficult times.’


While stores remain open for essential and urgent care only, customers with any concerns who wish to avoid a store visit, can use other services to access support and advise.  Specsavers launched a new RemoteCare service during lockdown which offers video consultations. Visit the Specsavers website or phone the store for advice and to be assessed on the level of care you might need. Glasses and contact lenses can also be purchased online for customers with a current prescription.


Customers can now also book appointments for hearing services in the community. In line with new guidelines, Specsavers audiologists have reintroduced key, lifeline audiology services to the general public, including hearing tests, hearing aid fittings and earwax removal. Customers will need to request an appointment online or call their local store first for advice and to be assessed on the level of care that they might need.


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

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