When Mark Kent from Loughborough noticed a shadow across his vision, he just thought it was a ‘bit odd’. What he didn’t appreciate was that this was a sign of something quite sinister and that he was, in fact, in danger of losing his sight.
Mark, a 55-year-old father-of-one, was enjoying a meal outside (pre-lockdown) when he became aware of a vertical shadow in his vision. Although he wasn’t concerned, he decided to make an appointment at his local opticians, Specsavers in Loughborough.
‘I still wasn’t overly worried,’ comments Mark. ‘Although with my job as a photographer my eyesight is crucial, I was keen to get it sorted.
Visiting Loughborough Specsavers
He was seen by the store’s optician Tej Chauhan who carried out a full eye examination, as well as an OCT (optical coherence tomography) scan which allowed Tej to look deeper into Mark’s eyes – giving an accurate picture of their structures.
‘The OCT scan uses light to take more than 1,000 images of the back of your eye and beyond, looking right back to the optic nerve and creating a cross-section view,’ says Tej. ‘The added benefit of the scan is that we can store the customer’s OCT images so they can note changes over time – a real benefit to the monitoring of someone’s overall eye health.’
The examinations revealed a worrying change to Mark’s left eye with Tej suspecting a detached retina. He rang ahead to Leicester Royal Infirmary to advise that Mark would be coming in first thing the following morning where he was seen on arrival.
The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of your eye. It’s responsible for receiving light and translating it into electrical signals to send to the brain, where it creates the images we see.
It transpired that Mark had five tears to the retina in his left eye – with the condition deteriorating rapidly, so much so he was very close to losing the sight in that eye. He underwent surgery the next morning which involved laser and gas treatment to repair the tears.
‘My recovery included two days of lying completely flat followed by seven days of eye drops administered every hour, fortunately my son was great at reminding me to do this!
‘All in all, I saw it as a little hindrance which I could have so easily ignored. The staff at the hospital, as they were at Specsavers, were amazing and I can’t thank them all enough. And today, although my sight is still a little misty in that left eye, it’s remarkable that I have got my vision back so quickly – I’m very lucky.
‘I also hadn’t really appreciated all the conditions that eye tests can pick up and I’ll certainly be encouraging those I know to make sure they see their optician regularly.’
‘We’re pleased that Mark’s surgery was successful,’ adds Tej. ‘Cases like this really do show that you should never put off seeing your optician if you are concerned about a problem with your eyes – the sooner these things are picked up the better.’