Specsavers in Towcester was able to offer some peace of mind to a customer who was shielding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Craig Aldous started to research eye conditions on the internet, he became very anxious and due to him shielding, though there was little he could do to ease his concerns.
The 48-year-old Towcester resident had previously been diagnosed with bilateral Hard Drusen, (deposits of fatty proteins that accumulate under the retina), a condition which needs monitoring. His father also suffers from AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and so Craig was worried that he could be developing this condition.
‘During lockdown my concerns about my sight have been escalating. I have been waking up every morning with the build-up of more and more anxiety, and I am not a person who normally feels this way,’ commented Craig.
‘I made the mistake of doing my own research into my condition which only got me more worked up and so, in the end, I decided to call my local opticians, Specsavers on Watling Street, to get some advice.’
The store arranged for the optometrist and store director, Satvinder Soomal, to call Craig to talk him through his concerns.
‘Sat spent 40 minutes with me on the phone going over my previous test results, what they meant, what I could do to manage the situation and generally being very reassuring,’ Craig added.
It was agreed that Craig should come into the store the following week so that Sat could take a closer look at his eyes. It was arranged that Craig would be the only customer in the store, to ensure social distancing, with full COVID-19 safety procedures followed.
When there Craig underwent various visual tests, which included using a hospital-quality OCT (optical coherence tomography) scan which can help detect treatable eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, sooner. The scan uses light to take more than 1,000 images of the back of the eye and beyond, looking right back to the optic nerve and creating a cross-section view. This meant that Sat was able to see an incredibly accurate picture of Craig’s eyes and their structures, with images stored so that any changes can be noted over time.
After assessing the diagnostic results and OCT scans Sat explained to Craig that there had been no change to his eyes over the last three months and that his optic nerves looked healthy. ‘That’s when my anxiety levels started to return to normal,’ continued Craig. ‘Although I know I’ll still worry about my vision, Sat’s time, dedication, experience and knowledge with me over this period has been nothing short of brilliant and very reassuring.
‘I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Specsavers and to Sat for his time and empathetic attitude he has shown me over the last few months. I will now be using the store going forward, with OCT scans at every visit for peace of mind and to help spot any changes to my eyes should they occur.’
A word from the store director
‘We are delighted that we’ve been able to offer Craig some reassurance and look forward to welcoming him back into store for his next eye examination,’ added Sat. ‘Throughout lockdown we have been open for care – offering essential or urgent eye care treatment in a safe environment for those who need it, like Craig. We would urge anyone who has any concerns about their eye health or vision to seek advice from their optometrist, putting off checking your vision can be damaging not only to your physical health but also your mental well-being.’
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.