A postman from Coatbridge had a serious underlying health condition detected following a routine eye test at Specsavers on Main Street – with doctors believing he was just days away from a heart attack.

Edward Donnachie, 51, from Coatbridge noticed a change in his vision which he thought might have been linked to tiredness or stress. As he started struggling to make out the finer details of people’s faces, he booked himself an eye test as he presumed he needed a stronger prescription.

Optometrist Stephanie Duff conducted an eye test, but instantly recognised that something was wrong when looking at Edward’s retinal photographs. Both retinae were covered in haemorrhages suggesting underlying pathology, and he was immediately referred to hospital.

Urgent action required

Stephanie said: ‘Digital retinal photography is part of a standard test for all customers, but we are trained to know exactly what warning signs to look out for. Edward’s results were quite alarming and I knew that an urgent hospital referral was needed.’

At Hairmyres Hospital, Edward’s blood pressure was recorded as extremely high and an ultrasound on his kidneys detected bleeding. The arteries leading to his heart from the kidney had thickened and became blocked which could have led to a heart attack if left untreated.

He was then kept in for two days of observation and given medication to lower his blood pressure. After three months off work and regular check-ups with the doctor, he has made a full recovery.

Hugely grateful

Edward said: ‘I’m hugely grateful for Stephanie's examination and quick but calm management of the whole situation. She really did help save my life.

‘I’d like to encourage everyone to not neglect their eye health and visit their local opticians. It’s more than just glasses at Specsavers and the service I received was first class.’

Eye exams should be an important part of everyone’s overall health routine

Andrew McGonagle, director of Specsavers in Airdrie and Coatbridge, said: ‘Edward’s case was handled promptly and professionally, and I am proud of Stephanie and our team in Coatbridge for providing such excellent service.

‘His diagnosis highlights just how important regular eye examinations can be and we’re delighted that Edward has made a full recovery.

‘We typically recommend getting your eyes checked every two years. Eye exams should be an important part of everyone’s overall health routine, no matter their age. Some people wait until they experience symptoms to see an optometrist, but they shouldn't, because many eye problems and other underlying health conditions can be silent - meaning they have no symptoms.

’If you’re overdue a test or have any concerns regarding your eye health, visit or call your local opticians to book an appointment.’

Research published by Specsavers and charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), shows one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable. The statistics also show that 300 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day.

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