News

Life-changing referral by local optician

20 October, 2017
Patient Sarah Fox with Pat Heggarty, who spotted an abnormality during her test at Specsavers in Mansfield
Sarah Fox with Specsavers optometrist Pat Heggarty, who spotted an abnormality during her eye test in Mansfield

A Mansfield resident is encouraging everyone to get their eyes tested after a routine appointment at her local opticians detected signs of a life-changing condition.

Sarah Fox, 45, a mother of two from Mansfield, was enjoying an evening with friends and family when she misjudged a curb and fell into a wall.

Convinced that it was her eyesight, she booked an appointment at Specsavers on Westgate, where optometrist Pat Heggarty performed a series of comprehensive tests and spotted an anomaly behind her eye.

Quick referral for MRI scan

‘I wore glasses anyway and never had any noticeable symptoms,’ said Sarah. ‘During my appointment at Specsavers, it was a huge shock when Pat said I needed an urgent MRI scan, as I just thought my sight was worsening – I had no idea something more serious was wrong.

'After my MRI scan at the hospital, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).’

MS is a condition where the body’s autoimmune system starts attacking the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord, causing difficulties with many different parts of the body, including movement and sight. 

Optometrist Pat Heggarty said: ‘I was very concerned by the end of the test that Sarah’s worsening sight was being caused by a more serious problem – an inflamed optic nerve is a big red flag for us.

'Like many sufferers of MS, the condition affects her vision through a condition called Optic Neuritis, which causes inflammation in the optic nerve.’

Closely monitored

Srah said: ‘Since being diagnosed with MS, I have been taking controlled medication to manage the condition. I also have a bi-annual sight test at Specsavers to monitor my vision.

‘I’m really grateful to Pat and the team at Specsavers for picking up the condition, ensuring that I now have the treatment I need. Being diagnosed with MS is something that I have learned to accept, and I have a huge amount of support.’

Importance of regular eye tests

Mansfield store director Imogen Hoyle said: 'It's good to know that Sarah is getting the best treatment to manage her condition. Her case just highlights the importance of regular eye tests – they are not simply a prescription check, they are also a vital health assessment.

‘We are able to monitor the condition of the eyes on an ongoing basis, which builds up a picture of how the eyes and connecting organs are changing over time. This means that we can pick up any anomalies quickly and easily, so that they can be treated as soon as possible.'

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