Four local people from the Coleraine, Portstewart and Ballymoney areas, who sought help from Specsavers during lockdown, tell their stories.

Pharmacy technician needed new specs to do her job

Julie, a clinical pharmacy technician, had a hectic few months working in Causeway Hospital wards which included COVID positive patients. Good eyesight is essential for dispensing vital medicines, and back in April Julie broke her glasses whilst running downstairs after her young toddler.

‘My glasses were completely wrecked and I was struggling to do my job. I contacted Specsavers at 10am and within 45 minutes my new specs were ready – it was simply amazing and I’m so thankful to Judith and her team.’

DIY accident required emergency referral

In early April, Iain Moore, was doing some weekend gardening. Later that night he felt his left eye was very itchy, sore and uncomfortable. As things hadn’t improved the next morning he phoned Specsavers and set up an emergency appointment.

‘On examination, I could see something stuck in Iain’s eye, which turned out to be a small grass cutting which was causing his eye to become very irritated’ explains Judith Ball.

‘As the eye could have become infected, the grass debris needed to be removed and I referred Iain to Altnagelvin’s eye emergency department.’

Iain picks up the story: ‘The eye casualty team carefully removed the grass cutting with a cotton swab. I’m really grateful to the hospital staff and to Judith for looking after me and sorting out my eye problem so quickly.’

Advice and reassurance following flashes and floater symptoms

Recently retired radiographer Suzanne Brown was suffering from symptoms very similar to a retinal tear but didn’t know what was wrong.

‘I was playing golf and noticed ‘flashes’ as well as a ‘spider’ floater in my eyes. One of my golf partners is a GP and recommended I get my optician to check out my eyes.

Optometrist Patricia McMullan confirmed that Suzanne did not have a retinal tear but was  experiencing the visual symptoms of one and that her symptoms should soon settle down.

‘Specsavers advised me that if anything changes or deteriorates they are only a phone call away and if needed they can refer me to eye emergency.  The team really went out of their way to advise and reassure me.’

Detached retina needed emergency surgery

Civil servant Siobhan Quinn suffers from asthma and had been self-isolating. Before a planned return to work she decided to get her eyes checked as she’d been experiencing some blurred vision.

‘I contacted the store not thinking that anything was terribly wrong and explained my symptoms. I later got a phone call back to ask me to come into the store for an urgent eye test on the Saturday morning with optometrist Patricia. Patricia said she detected a retinal detachment and referred me straight away to Altnagelvin’s eye emergency clinic. Things moved quickly and on the Tuesday I underwent surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

‘The operation went very smoothly. My consultant said to me that I have a very good optician, and I’m so grateful to Patricia for detecting the retinal tear and for setting up my eye emergency appointment so quickly’.  

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