Over the last 21 years, Abingdon man Pete Chilton had been regularly visiting his local optician and so, when he made his routine appointment earlier this year, thought nothing more of it. However, little did he realise that this visit would be one that would help save his sight.
It was just after Easter that Pete (53) went to Specsavers in Abingdon for his biennial eye examination. The father of two had been experiencing some floaters across his vision but wasn’t overly concerned about them. In fact, it was only when the optician and store director, Atul Vadgama asked him about any sight issues that Pete mentioned it.
Suspected detached retina
After carrying out a series of tests and examining Mr Chilton’s eyes, Atul quickly realised that all wasn’t as it should be – suspecting a detached retina – and so immediately referred him to the John Radcliffe Hospital.
‘My wife was waiting outside for me and so when I said I’ve got to go to the hospital now, she was unsurprisingly shocked,’ commented Pete. ‘Atul called as we were en route to give us clear instructions on where to go at the hospital which was really helpful and reassuring.’
Pete was assessed on arrival with a confirmed diagnosis of a detached retina. The medical team asked him if he’d had any trauma to the head, which is when Pete remembered the blow to the eye that he’d received while playing football.
‘The ball had hit me square on in the same eye – but other than having a black eye for a while I hadn’t experienced any ongoing issues and so thought nothing more of it. While I can’t be sure that this was the cause of the detached retina, it does seem to be likely.’
Pete was operated on right away – under local anaesthetic – to successfully re-attach the retina. Following a fortnight of rest, he was then able to resume his usual routine and his sight returned to normal.
More than just a vision check-up
‘It may sound a little corny, but this whole experience has made me re-evaluate what an optician does. For so many years I’ve been visiting Specsavers for my vision needs – I wear contact lenses – but hadn’t really thought, up until this time, of the wider health checks that were going on.
‘If I hadn’t been for my routine sight test, it’s possible that the detachment would have become so much worse that it would have been irreversibly damaged – and I would have lost the sight in that eye. That really doesn’t bear thinking about.’
‘Stories like Mr Chilton’s are pretty rare but what they do show is the importance of seeing your optician regularly,’ added Atul. ‘We recommend that people do this every two years unless they are experiencing any problems with their eyes or vision in which case they should make an appointment right away.’
Minor Eye Conditions
The optometrists at Specsavers Abingdon have accreditations in glaucoma and minor eye conditions (MECs). It means the store can offer eye health services to help manage a number of eye conditions allowing more people to be treated in store rather than having to go to their GP or hospital. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services.