A local Arnold man is urging everyone to get their eyes tested this World Glaucoma Week (11-18 March) after a one-off appointment detected a life-changing condition which might have left him blind in a matter of months.
Retiree John Campbell, aged 61, had accompanied his wife to her appointment at their local Specsavers store on Front Street, when he decided to book himself in while he was there. During the appointment, Specsavers store director and optometrist, Vineet Nehra, spotted an anomaly and immediately referred him to hospital.
Swift medical attention
‘It was very clear that John needed urgent medical attention,’ said Vineet. ‘He had a very advanced case of what we call acute glaucoma, which for him had been symptomless up to this point, and his eyes were struggling under a build-up of pressure on his optic nerve.
‘We have very sophisticated glaucoma screening technology in store, which we offer as part of all regular eye tests, and this takes a photograph of the back of the eye, so I could see exactly what was going on.’
Vineet referred John to the eye casualty department at Queen’s Medical Centre for an urgent appointment, and John was diagnosed with advanced glaucoma.
‘I was in a state of complete shock after Vineet told me that I needed to go to hospital’ recalled John. ‘I had just come back from holiday with my wife, and didn’t suspect anything was wrong – I had no symptoms whatsoever to indicate there might be a problem.’
John was treated with a course of eye drops before receiving specialist operations on each eye, called a trabeculectomy, which involves draining fluid from the back of the eye to release pressure.
‘Since having the operations, I’m now having regular monthly check-ups to monitor the progress of the disease,’ said John. ‘One of the side effects of my treatment is that I have developed cataracts, which I will also shortly be receiving treatment for once my eyes have recovered from surgery.
‘I feel incredibly lucky to have received this treatment, and without the initial diagnosis and quick actions of Vineet at Specsavers, I would have already lost my sight to this condition. I really owe it to him that I still have my sight, and I would encourage everybody to go and have their sight tested on a regular basis – it’s such an important health check.’
A word from the optometrist
Vineet said: ‘Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in the UK. Many are unaware that glaucoma can be hereditary and signs go unnoticed, especially in the early stages when there are often no symptoms.
‘Early detection means the condition can be monitored and future damage to vision minimised, which is why we’re asking everyone in Arnold to make sure they have their eyes tested, especially if their siblings or parents have glaucoma.’