'I’m living proof that getting your eyes checked regularly can save your sight or even your life,’ said Chorley mum-of-two Michelle Kirk, aged 29.
‘I won’t let my family go through that again and I cannot explain how important it is for everyone to get their eyes tested.’
In mid-2014, a spur of the moment decision to visit Chorley Specsavers during a Saturday morning family shopping trip changed Michelle’s life forever, after a regular eye test revealed a severe brain condition.
To mark this year’s National Eye Health Week (22-28 September), Michelle - who has since married her partner Ben after their dream wedding plans were interrupted by her ordeal - was determined to ensure her life-saving Specsavers trip is the cautionary tale to inspire Lancashire people to get their eyes checked regularly.
Balancing her shopping bags, six-year-old daughter Hazel and eight-month-old baby Henry, Michelle had passed the Chapel Street Specsavers and decided to nip in, conscious that she had recently noticed a slight deterioration in her vision and suffered a number of headaches.
Suspected intracranial hypertension
Michelle would spend the next five nights at the Royal Preston Hospital having been examined by store director Rizwan Iqbal and immediately referred as an emergency case with suspected intracranial hypertension, a condition which involves raised pressure within the skull on the brain.
After undergoing a variety of scans and tests including lumbar puncture, it was revealed that vessels in Michelle’s skull had narrowed and were preventing blood from circulating properly, a condition that can cause blindness, a stroke or potentially worse.
A year later, and still taking medication to control the condition, nursery nurse Michelle, who lives in St Gregory’s Place with husband Ben and her children, is keen to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests.
Michelle backs awareness week
Michelle said: ‘I vividly remember driving my two children around town about two weeks before my test and thinking, ‘I swear my vision has got slightly worse, I need to get my eyes tested.
‘But even when I started having more regular headaches I just put it down to ‘my prescription must have changed’ and I told myself I’d get round to going into store.
‘That Saturday morning in town, I spotted the Specsavers store and thought I would pop in and get mine and my daughter’s eyes tested. It was Hazel’s first ever test and it turned out that she needed glasses, but I’m sure she’ll always remember that trip for what happened next.’
Michelle backed the National Eye Health Week campaign and continues to do all she can to encourage her family and friends to get their eyes tested regularly at Chorley Specsavers.
She added: ‘I’m still taking medication but everything is back to normal. I was so worried about the wedding but once I knew that was still on track everything else fell back into place perfectly.
‘All my family have been for a test and it’s definitely given me peace of mind. I cannot explain how important it is for everyone to get their eyes tested regularly.
‘You can’t put a price on your health and I’m so glad I went to Specsavers.’
Specsavers recommends everybody visits a trusted and experienced optician every two years. Not only will this ensure their eye health remains in optimum condition, it will also help to detect any underlying health problems.
Store director Rizwan Iqbal commented: ‘The entire team here is delighted to hear that Michelle’s recovery is going so very well.
‘It is cases like this that highlight the importance of regular eye checks and why it’s vital to get any problems or concerns you may have, no matter how minor they may seem, checked out as soon as possible.
‘You only get one pair of eyes so it is important to look after them – if you’ve not had an eye test in the last two years you should make an appointment as soon as possible.’