A visit to Specsavers Bloxwich proved to be a sight saver for a local girl. Aspiring hairdresser Natasha Hughes had been suffering with headaches for some time, but as doctors hadn’t been able to determine the cause, the 18-year-old’s mum suggested she visited her local opticians for an eye examination.

Little did Natasha know that this trip would actually help save her sight, as the store’s optician and director quickly picked up that all wasn’t right with Natasha’s eyes.

‘During the eye examination and through the use of a digital 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 optometrist Jagroop Uppal. ‘After discussing the problem and reassuring Natasha and her mother, we referred Natasha straight to the New Cross Hospital for further assessment.’

Diagnosis

At the hospital Natasha was diagnosed as suffering with intracranial hypertension - abnormally high pressure inside her skull. After undergoing two lumbar punctures to remove excess fluid from her spine, Natasha was then admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for surgery. This entailed a lumboperitoneal shunting, shunting fluid from her spine to her abdomen.

‘It’s been a tough time going through the procedures and surgery, but I’m glad it’s over and I feel more like my old self again now,’ said Natasha. ‘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.’

Mr Uppal added, ‘We’re glad that we were able to help Natasha – 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. At Specsavers Bloxwich we are currently offering free eye examinations – so there’s no excuse not to see an optician!’

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