Case study demonstrates the importance of regular sight tests for National Eye Health Week (24-30 September)
When local resident Christopher Morley woke up with a droopy right eyelid, his GP suggested a visit to the opticians. Little did he know he’d later spend four nights in hospital and was at high risk of having a stroke.
Following his trip to see his GP, Mr Morley, a 65-year-old retired teacher from Whitwick, booked an appointment at Specsavers in Coalville. He managed to get one the next morning with store director and optometrist, Shailan Ruparelia.
‘When Mr Morley came in, I noticed his drooping eyelid and small pupil straight away and suspected a case of Horner’s syndrome,’ said Shailan.
Horner’s syndrome is a relatively rare disorder which is often noticeable by small pupil, drooping of the upper eyelid, absence of sweating on the face or sinking of the eyeball. The causes of Horner’s syndrome vary, and some can be life-threatening.
Mr Morley was referred to the eye clinic at Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital where they checked the nerves around his eye and discovered the problem didn’t necessarily originate from the eye.
‘I was asked to visit the GP on the hospital site, who diagnosed me with a case of Horner’s syndrome. I was then told I had to stay in overnight to identify the cause. I ended up in hospital for four days, where I had several scans and an X-ray.’
His final CT scan revealed that Mr Morley had a tear in the main blood vessel in his neck, known as a carotid artery dissection – an extremely common cause of stroke. Mr Morley was discharged the following evening and is now on blood thinning tablets while the tear repairs itself.
Importance of sight tests
‘It’s frightening to think that if the blood clot had travelled through the tear in that time, it could have reached my brain and caused a stroke,’ said Mr Morley. ‘I was so impressed by the efficiency of Specsavers. Had I not visited, where Shailan rightly suspected Horner’s syndrome, I might not have been aware of my condition or received the appropriate treatment.
‘My experience has really highlighted just how important it is not to neglect any issues you are having. I had no idea eye examinations could pick up so many different conditions, and I’ll certainly be visiting the opticians to get my eyes checked regularly now. I’m very grateful to Shailan, as well as the care of the Leicester Royal Infirmary.’
Shailan added: ‘Mr Morley’s story illustrates the importance of getting your eyes checked if you notice a problem. Eye tests aren’t just important for your vision but also for your general health, as other problems can be detected including, high blood pressure, brain tumours and diabetes.
‘We urge everyone to make sure that they have their eyes tested every two years unless they’re experiencing any problems in which case they should visit their optician sooner.’