When Brenda Goode, 68, from Stoke Albany made a lockdown appointment at Specsavers in Market Harborough she wasn’t expecting it to lead to sight-saving surgery just 24 hours later.
Living in lockdown
While in lockdown, Specsavers was closed for routine appointments and remained open for urgent and essential care and customer calls were carefully monitored by expert optometrists to make sure people got the support they needed even during the current pandemic.
On Monday 20 April, Brenda had noticed her sight deteriorating and she could see a shadow in her vision. She had put her symptoms down to tiredness but when her brother received an email explaining that Specsavers were open for essential care, he prompted her to get it checked out.
Brenda says: ‘I eventually called the Specsavers store around 3.30pm on Friday 24 April and after discussing my symptoms the optometrist, Umesh Mistry, asked me to go to the store immediately. I arrived just before 4pm when the store should’ve been closing for the day but the team stayed on to see me. After a series of tests, Mr Mistry told me I had a detached retina and referred me to Leicester Royal Infirmary that same evening.’
A trip to hospital
For the required treatment, the team at Leicester Royal made an appointment for Brenda at Moorfield Eye Hospital in London early on the Saturday morning. ‘I was in and out of hospital by 11am the very next day,’ she adds. ‘The surgeon explained that my eye had been treated with a laser and they’d inserted a gas bubble behind my eye which would help the retina to re-attach. What they’ve done is amazing and I’m so impressed with how quickly everyone has acted, especially during these unprecedented times. They’ve truly saved my sight and I’m incredibly grateful.’
A word from the store director
Specsavers Market Harborough optical director, Umesh Mistry, explains: ‘When Brenda explained she could see shadows I knew it was critical to see her urgently. When she arrived I used drops to dilate both eyes and then carried out a thorough eye examination using field vision tests, an OCT (optical coherence tomography) machine which enables optometrists to look deeper into the eyes and the structures within them, and took pictures of the back of the eye with a fundus camera. Using the OCT, I could quite clearly see the separation of the retina and I was able to show Brenda what was wrong.
‘Brenda was extremely lucky, I’m delighted that she’s doing well now and that we were able to help. I would urge anyone who is experiencing symptoms such as shadowing or any changes to their vision to contact their optician for advice straight away.’