A Solva woman is praising her opticians and urging others to have eye tests after her routine eye test detected she was having a stroke.

Immediately referred to hospital

Debra McCreadie, 55, booked an eye test at Specsavers Haverfordwest when she began feeling unwell and experienced double and triple vision.

‘I just thought it was an issue with my contact lenses initially, but I was shocked to discover it was a much more serious issue,’ says Mrs McCreadie.

During Mrs McCreadie’s eye examination at the Specsavers store on Bridge Street, optometrist Elise Evans recognised the worsening symptoms as that of a stroke and immediately called Withybush Hospital. Mrs McCreadie was admitted that afternoon where doctors later confirmed this.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked, usually because of an obstruction such as a clot. Symptoms include numbness or weakness in the limbs, speech difficulties, sudden blurred vision or loss of sight. Strokes can be life-changing as well as threatening, so it’s important to receive medical attention as soon as the signs are spotted.

Shocking statistics

According to the Stroke Association, approximately one in eight people die within 30 days of having a stroke, emphasising the importance of getting medical help as soon as possible.

‘Elise’s quick action meant my stroke didn’t slip under the radar and I was able to receive medical treatment at the hospital,’ Mrs McCreadie says. ‘I’ve since made a full recovery and I can’t thank Elise enough. Had she not recognised my symptoms so soon, I could have been in a much worse position than I am in now. It just goes to show how you shouldn’t take your eye health for granted and ensure you pencil in regular eye tests.

‘The care and attention I received, and the professional and calm way I was dealt with at Specsavers was exceptional, and I implore others to get in touch with their local opticians if they have any concerns about their eyes.’

Paul Skoczek, director at Specsavers Haverfordwest, says: ‘The eyes are often said to be windows to the soul, but they’re also windows into a person’s health and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Debra’s story is just one example of how vital it is to pay attention to your changes to your sight, as sometimes it can highlight serious health problems.

'Had Debra delayed booking an appointment, she could have gone on to experience a life-changing stroke, but we’re thrilled her condition was caught at a time where treatment was able to help her recover and allow her to continue living life to the full.’

Specsavers Haverfordwest is part of the Welsh Eye Care Services which means the store delivers primary eye care services on behalf of the NHS. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services.

All Haverfordwest store information