A grandmother from Kenfig Hill is encouraging people to not delay contacting their opticians in lockdown after a stroke has left her with permanent sight loss in one eye.

‘When I woke up I couldn’t see anything’

Edwina Knight, 78, contacted Specsavers at the Sainsbury’s store in Bridgend Derwen after she noticed that she had lost her vision in her left eye.

‘I was playing a game on my tablet and my eyes went foggy,’ says the retired civil servant. ‘I just blamed it on tiredness and dirty glasses so went to bed not thinking much of it, but when I woke up I couldn’t see anything out of my left eye. I felt guilty taking up the doctor’s time with everything going on, but my daughter eventually convinced me to call them. It was at that point they said I needed to visit my local opticians immediately.’

Omair Khan, the optometrist director of the Specsavers store, examined Mrs Knight, and suspecting something serious, immediately referred her to hospital. It was later confirmed that she’d had a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, behind her eye. A TIA is caused by a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain and, if left untreated, can lead to a full stroke[1].

Sight could have been saved

While her sight in her left eye will never be fully restored, Mr Khan provided her with a new prescription so that she is able to continue with the hobbies she loves, such as reading, sewing and gardening.

‘When they told me I had suffered a TIA behind my eye I was shocked, I’d never heard of it before,’ adds Mrs Knight. ‘The doctor at the hospital told me that, had they seen me sooner, they could have saved my sight.

‘I urge anyone suffering from sight issues to contact their optician right away – they’re always swift and happy to help, even in this time of crisis.’

Specsavers' teams are classed as key workers to provide urgent and essential eye care to those who need it. This includes supporting other key workers who couldn’t function without specialist help and people who would come to harm without health expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.

Omair Khan adds: ‘If you experience any problems with your eyes or notice any changes in your vision, please give your local optician a call. In many cases it is nothing to worry about – but sometimes it can be an indication of a more serious health condition.

‘It is important people stay home during this crisis, but it’s cases like Edwina’s that demonstrate not only how important it is for opticians to be open during this pandemic, but also how important it is for people to seek the correct medical attention when they need it.’

All Specsavers Bridgend Derwen Sainsbury’s information