A spontaneous visit to Specsavers Clevedon resulted in a sight-saving diagnosis for one local woman after it helped spot an almost undetectable eye condition. 

Wendy Ballard (44) from Portishead visited the store wanting to upgrade her glasses. As it had been some time since her last check up she also decided to have a sight test, and was seen by store director and optometrist Emma Perrigo.

Sight-saving examination

During the examination, Mrs Perrigo conducted a Van Herrick test on Mrs Ballard’s eyes; a routine check for someone who is very long sighted. A slit lamp was used to estimate the angle of the anterior chamber, within the eye. It was at this point that Mrs Perrigo noticed Mrs Ballard’s drainage angles were very narrow. 

‘Emma was certain I was at considerable risk of acute angle-closure glaucoma so she referred me to my GP for a second opinion and possible preventative treatment,’ says Mrs Ballard. ‘I went to my GP, who referred me to the Bristol Eye Hospital for an initial consultation.

Hospital specialist confirms diagnosis

‘Here I met with the glaucoma specialist, where he confirmed that I would need corrective surgery - laser treatment - as the drainage angles in both my eyes were very narrow. This would have caused permanent sight-loss due to a build up of pressure if left untreated.  

‘The laser procedure was so quick and easy, there was no pain and I was given steroid eye drops to take for five days afterwards to help with the healing process. However, when I finished the course my eyes started to feel really sore and my vision was misty. I called Emma at Specsavers who referred me back to Bristol Eye Hospital, where I was then diagnosed with Iritis - an unusual condition which causes the iris to become inflamed - and I was prescribed more steroid drops. The hospital also gave me some lubricating eye drops to make me feel more comfortable. 

Quick response from store 

‘My eyesight is back to normal now, thanks to Emma’s quick action. She and the staff at the store were brilliant, both in advising and supporting me about what was going on. I am so lucky that she picked up this problem as it is difficult to detect and I was having no symptoms. I am aware I could have suffered a lot of pain and possibly lost my sight,’ concludes Mrs Ballard.

‘As soon as I examined Mrs Ballard’s eyes I knew something wasn’t right,’ says Mrs Perrigo. ‘I was concerned that her narrow drainage angles would possibly result in the fluid not being able to drain out efficiently which can then cause the pressure within the eye to build up. This would then irreversibly damage the optic nerve and potentially result in extensive and permanent loss of vision.

‘We recommend a sight test every two years and it’s occasions like this, where a condition displays no symptoms, which confirms just how important it is to visit your opticians regularly. We are very pleased to see Mrs Ballard has made a full recovery.’

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