After a week of suffering from double vision, Melvin Dean decided to visit his local opticians - little did he realise that this trip could help save his life.

Melvin (40) from Evesham was a regular customer of Specsavers in the town, so after a cold lingered and he was left seeing double, he thought he’d make an appointment to check all was ok with his sight.

‘I’d had a cold that lasted for ages, and became quite unwell.  I was left with double vision and thought perhaps I was due for some new specs, so made an appointment at the store,’ commented Melvin.  

Digital photography

Optometrist Shazia Parveen carried out the routine eye examination, which although showed no changes to Melvin’s vision, did reveal a cause for concern when they looked at the back of his eyes. 

‘We use a digital retinal camera as part of all our standard sight tests at no extra charge and this takes a picture of the back of the eye,’ said Shazia. ‘When we photographed Melvin’s eyes we noticed something unusual and suspected a form of cranial hypertension (high pressure) so immediately referred him to Birmingham Eye Hospital.’

Risk of stroke

Following MRI head scans at the hospital Melvin was diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – a blood clot in his sinuses.  Treatment involved a course of injections in his stomach to help break down the clot, followed by ongoing medication to help prevent further clots.

‘The hospital advised that if I had ignored the problem I would have been at serious at risk of a stroke, which could have been devastating, and something I hadn’t really thought about at my age,’ added Melvin. ‘I’m really impressed with what an eye examination, and especially what the use of the digital retinal camera can reveal. I’d urge everyone else to make sure they keep up with their regular appointments.  In my case it potentially helped save my life.’

‘Stories like Mr Dean’s show how important it is to ensure you visit your optician regularly,’ said Shazia.  ‘As well as checking your vison an eye examination can also pick up on a range of medical conditions and so really is a vital health check.  We advise customers to visit us at least every two years, unless of course they are experiencing any problems, like Mr Dean, in which case they should come in sooner.’

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