Robert Reading from Burnham-on-Sea had been suffering from dizzy spells and episodes of temporary blurred vision when his daughter Leah recommended he take an eye test, which proved to be lifesaving.

Mr Reading, 62, was feeling tired and unwell and had experienced four blackouts. After his daughter Leah insisted on him having an eye test, Specsavers-Burnham-on-Sea’s Optician Mr. Rama Venkat did not hesitate to stay behind and see Mr Reading for the urgent test, as he was concerned by his symptoms.

Urgent treatment

Mr Rama Venkat said: ‘I felt it was my professional duty to examine Mr Reading as soon as possible. I tested him urgently as an extra patient at the end of my long day. I performed a dilated eye examination and used a Volk lens to examine the retina of Mr Reading’s’ eyes. During the examination, I noticed a significant narrowing of the blood vessels in Mr Reading's retina, which prompted me to take immediate action.’

Mr Venkat urgently referred Mr Reading to his GP on Friday. By Monday, Mr Reading had blood tests and was referred the same day to Musgrove Park Hospital for an ultrasound. The tests confirmed that there was a blockage in the carotid artery that transported blood to his eye and brain. Mr Reading was admitted immediately for a sight-saving operation. The surgeons had commented that carotid artery blockage, if untreated, could have led to a serious condition, such as a stroke or sudden loss of vision.

Life saved

The operation was a success and Mr Reading was discharged with medication to aid his recovery process. ‘The prompt action from Mr Rama Venkat was undoubtedly a huge factor in my speedy diagnosis and treatment, and for that, I would be most grateful,’ said Mr Reading. ‘I am now 90% recovered thanks to the care and attention I received from Rama and the hospital, which meant the blockage in my carotid artery was picked up in time to be treated. I also had a slight blockage on the left side but that was treated with medication. ‘My daughter Leah works at Specsavers in Burnham-on-Sea and my experience has shown how right she was in telling me about the importance of an eye examination in checking so much more than just your eyesight.’

Leah added: ‘I can’t thank Rama enough. He literally saved my dad’s sight. Without his insistence on an immediate eye test, our story could have ended very differently. I always knew how important an eye test was from my experience working at Specsavers Burnham-on-Sea but now I have personal experience.’

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