An Exeter woman is encouraging more people to get their eye tested during National Eye Health week following her experiences. 

Fiona Algar from Exeter had been suffering from increasingly disturbed vision, knowing that she had some problems in the past with her eyesight she booked in to get an eye test as soon as she could. Ultimately proving to be a decision that would save her sight.

Fiona said: ‘It happened in just one day, I realised that the number of new floaters in my eyes had significantly increased. I was in Exeter at the time and went straight to Specsavers and asked for an appointment and they booked me in for the following morning’.

Next step

After several tests, Fiona’s Optometrist, Jessica Gray, was concerned enough to write an urgent referral and send her straight to the hospital.

Jessica Gray, Optometrist, says: ‘Fiona was experiencing an increase in new floaters in her eyes. We dilated her pupils so we could have a really good look at the retina. The tests revealed she had a small retinal tear right at the top of her eye, this is a problem because gravity is against you and it can pull the tear down quite quickly and there is the risk it can become detached. We wrote a referral letter and sent Fiona straight up the A&E, phoning ahead to ensure they were aware she was coming’.

Fiona continued: ‘I had emergency laser eye surgery that same day, within two hours I was discharged and recovering at home. Sadly, within three days my eyesight deteriorated again, and I had to phone the hospital. I returned and they said it had torn again and I would need emergency surgery that same week’.

By that Tuesday Fiona had lost sight in that eye because of a bleed at the back of the eye. The hospital operated on her using a method called a ‘vitrectomy’. Unfortunately, for this treatment to work, she had to lie face down for five days with only ten-minute breaks every 50 mins.

Fiona continued: ‘That’s one of the lowest points because you suddenly realise how much you rely on your vision. My parents would be watching the television and say something looks nice, but I couldn’t see!’

Recovery

Fiona’s recovery was slowed down because she had a reaction to dissolvable stitches, but thankfully many weeks on, she has been given the all clear and can’t thank Jessica enough for her professionalism.

Fiona added: ‘Jessica was so professional and kept me calm and I really appreciate it. It makes a huge difference when you are reassured that they can deal with the problem quickly. The hospital were also excellent. I hope that my experience will show the importance of an eye examination in checking so much more than just your eyesight.’

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