When Mohammed Masood from Small Heath started to experience problems with his vision – he became a little concerned, especially as he’d suffered from a detached retina three years ago and knew the warning signs.
The 53-year-old was sat in his garden reading a book during lockdown one Sunday morning when he first noticed some new floaters appearing across his sight in his right eye. He knew that if these symptoms persisted he’d have to get it checked out and so, when on the following Monday morning they were still there, he began to ring round local opticians to get some advice.
Committed to providing urgent care
‘I was struggling to find an opticians that was open and although I’m not a usual customer at Specsavers in Acocks Green they were open for urgent care, so I called them and an optometrist called me back within half an hour,’ said Mohammed. ‘After telling her my symptoms she suggested I came in so she could take a proper look.’
‘We currently run an appointment only system and mainly carry out remote appointments via telephone and video,’ commented Specsavers Acocks Green optometrist Donya Gharanei. ‘But after a phone conversation with Mohammed, I knew immediately that he required an in-store consultation and, so I booked him in. Once in store I carried out a full eye examination which included using a digital retinal camera to take a picture of the back of his eyes.’
Donya quickly suspected a retinal tear and made an urgent referral, advising Mohammed not to drive to the hospital.
‘Fortunately, my son was able to come and pick me up and we went straight to Birmingham City Hospital where they confirmed the diagnosis of a retinal tear and I underwent laser surgery there and then,’ added Mohammed. ‘Unfortunately, this was only a temporary fix and I had to return to the hospital two days later to undergo surgery to repair the tear more fully.’
It’s been two weeks since the surgery and Mohammed’s vision is slowly returning – although a full recovery isn’t anticipated for a couple of months.
‘Lockdown means that I’m at home in any case, so recuperation doesn’t feel quite as hard. I’m just incredibly grateful for the swift action from Donya and Specsavers and the fantastic treatment from the hospital staff. If I hadn’t suffered from a detached retina before – in my other eye – I’m not sure I’d have thought about going to see my optician, especially during lockdown. But if I had put it off, I could have lost the sight in my eye so I’m extremely thankful that I managed to get seen when I did.’
Donya added, ‘It’s great to hear that Mr Masood is making a recovery and that we were able to help him when he needed it – that's why we’re here and we are incredibly grateful that we are able to help out our community in this way.
A word from the store director
Specsavers Acocks Green store director Ramiz Ahmed said, ‘There are cases where people might put off getting medical of clinical advice because of lockdown, but Mr Masood’s story shows how important it is not to neglect any changes to your health or vision and always seek expert advice.’
Open for care
Specsavers' teams are classed as key workers to provide urgent and essential eye care to those who need it. 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.
Customers with urgent concerns can use a new RemoteCare service, which allows video consultations by going online or phoning the store on 0121 707 4916 for advice and to be assessed on the level of care that they might need. Glasses and contact lenses can also be purchased online for customers with a current prescription.
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.