Visiting her local Specsavers in Bloxwich for a regular eye check-up proved to be a life-changing – and potentially life-saving – event for GCSE student and young dancer, Olivia Speed.
Not just your average headache
Olivia, 14, had been experiencing severe headaches for several weeks. Her mother, Michelle, took her for a walk-in appointment at her local Specsavers store in Bloxwich. What she didn’t realise was that this appointment would not only uncover the reason for her headaches, but result in an immediate referral to hospital.
Store director and optometrist, Jag Uppal, carried out the eye examination, and immediately spotted an anomaly. He identified fluid behind Olivia’s eyes, but couldn’t determine where it originated from. He immediately informed Olivia and her mother that he was referring her to hospital for an urgent check.
Praise for professionalism
‘Jag was amazing,’ said Michelle, ‘he was calm, professional and sympathetic, and kept us informed in clear language why he was referring Olivia to the hospital for further treatment. He explained that he could tell something wasn’t right, but the specialist equipment at the hospital would be able to give us a better idea of what we were dealing with.’
Olivia had a CT scan to give a clearer picture of the inside of her head, and she also had to endure a painful lumbar puncture procedure. ‘Olivia was so brave, she’s only 14, but she dealt with it with the maturity of someone much older,’ said Michelle. The tests confirmed that what Jag had spotted was fluid caused by Intracranial Hypertension. Simply put, this means abnormally high pressure within the skull, which, in acute cases, can be fatal without immediate treatment.
After the initial appointment with the hospital last November, Olivia is now being monitored by Mr Sastry, a neurological consultant at Newcross Hospital. Subsequent appointments with her consultant have seen a reduction in the medication needed to treat her condition, and it is hoped that this will continue to improve.
'I really feel they saved my life'
Olivia said: ‘I cannot fault the team at Specsavers, I really feel that they saved my life – my headaches have gone and the small amount of blurred vision I had just before my eye test has gone and I am getting back to normal. I love dancing, and the headaches were really having an effect on my ability to enjoy my classes as the pain was so severe I was coming home in tears.
‘Since starting treatment with the hospital, I have been able to attend classes and take part without worrying about headaches and it feels amazing. I am so grateful to the doctors at the hospital and especially to Jag. He spotted the problem straight away and got me the treatment I needed.’
Jag explained: ‘Intracranial hypertension is just one of many underlying conditions that we can spot and refer for treatment following a routine eye test. Having your vision checked isn’t just for people who already wear glasses or who think they may need them. Everyone should have their eyes tested at least every two years – there’s more to eye health than being able to see properly. Make sure you get your sight tested regularly and don’t forget that any changes in your vision should be checked out straight away.’