Local resident Alan Ayres was expecting a quick check up on his vision when he booked in for an eye test at the Hemel Hempstead store. But what began as a routine eye appointment quickly escalated into something much more serious with the 64 year old being referred to his local hospital.

What prompted Alan to visit the store

Alan says: ‘I did think my sight might not have been as good as it once was. I was finding it harder to read small writing and didn’t think it was as clear as it used to be.’

He soon made an appointment for his first ever eye appointment, and recalls that open arriving in the store he thought something must have been wrong.

‘It wasn’t far into my testing that the optometrist said to me “we think you might have a problem”’ says Alan.

The diagnoses

The concern that graduate optometrist, David Fleming spotted were indicators of diabetic retinopathy.  During Alan’s examination, David conducted digital retinal photography of the back of Alan’s eye which revealed he had small blood spots called haemorrhages on the retina.  These symptoms are linked to diabetic retinopathy which, if left untreated, can result in blindness.

While these indicators can be normal findings in a diabetic, Alan’s haemorrhages were in the central area of the eye where the potential for longer term damage is significantly raised.

David immediately referred Alan to the ophthalmic ward at Watford Hospital for diagnosis, where it was confirmed he had diabetic retinopathy. He began treatment immediately, to prevent further damage to his retina. Since diagnosis, he has had to visit the hospital regularly for eye injections aimed at limiting and reducing the impact of the haemorrhages on his vision.

What the diagnosis means

Not only did Alan have to come to terms with his eye condition, but he also had to come to terms with diabetes. Shortly after visiting hospital Alan booked an appointment with his GP, where it was confirmed he has type 2 diabetes, something he is likely to have been suffering from for some time.

Alan has said that his life has changed completely since finding out he has the condition. His diet has changed dramatically, and he now has to monitor his blood sugar levels. He has passed on his gratitude to the team for their rigorous testing and swift action in referring him to hospital.

A word from the store director

Store director Shane Bhimani praised David for his thorough examination of Alan’s eyes saying: ‘We were all impressed with the diligence David displayed, especially given this is his first year practicing after graduating from his optometry degree.’

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