A visit to West Bromwich Specsavers led to the diagnosis of a serious condition which could have cost a Tipton girl her sight. 

Nineteen-year-old Phoebe Hickinbottom had developed excruciating headaches and double vision but as doctors hadn’t been able to determine the cause, she made an appointment at her local opticians, Specsavers in West Bromwich.

It was an appointment which would ultimately help save Phoebe’s sight as optician Ayesha Sheik quickly picked up a problem with her eyes. 

‘During the eye examination and through the use of a digital retinal camera (which takes a picture of the back of the eye), I could see that there was swelling of the optic discs, which is called papilloedema,’ commented Ayesha. ‘We referred Phoebe straight away to the eye hospital to undergo further tests.’


From the eye hospital, Phoebe was transferred to A&E where she had a CT scan and MRI; fortunately the results revealed no tumours or blood clots, but that Phoebe was suffering from idiopathic intracranial hypertension - abnormally high pressure inside her skull. If left untreated this could have cost Phoebe her sight.

After undergoing a lumbar puncture to remove excess fluid from her spine, Phoebe is now recovering at home and undergoing further treatment.

‘It’s been a tough few months, but I’m glad that I now know what the condition is and I’m  starting to slowly feel better,’ said Phoebe. ‘It’s thanks to Specsavers that I didn’t risk losing my sight, I can’t imagine how devastating that would have been.  

‘It’s made me realise how important eye tests are, and I’ll certainly be recommending that other people make sure they see an optician regularly.’

Ayesha added, ‘We’re glad that we were able to help Phoebe – her story is quite rare, but cases like this do happen and it’s important that people don’t neglect their eye health as opticians can pick up a range of conditions just by examining your eyes.  Aim to see your optician at least every two years, or pop in straight away if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms.’

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