A Hemel Hempstead grandfather whose eyesight was saved after a routine sight test is sharing his story to encourage people to make time for regular check-ups.

Gordon Dickens, a local businessman running an educational support business known as Tutor Doctor, was recently diagnosed and treated for a condition known as a detaching retina following his first visit to Specsavers in the town.

A word from Gordon

Gordon said: ‘It had been a long time since I’d had an eye test and my eyes felt fine. I was conscious, however, that I had had several pairs of prescription specs in the past, and thought it was time to do something about it.

‘I had no symptoms or difficulties but the optician who carried out my eye test conducted a thorough examination and wasn’t happy about something he saw in my right eye. He called me back for a second look and then referred me to my local hospital for further investigation.’

Gordon was then seen by specialists at Stoke Manderville Hospital where small retinal spots detected by the optician were found to be lesions, caused by a detaching retina. He was operated on the day after his diagnosis.

More about retinal detachment 

Retinal detachment is often age-related and can occur when the retina becomes thinner and begins to pull away from its underlying blood vessels. If undetected or untreated, it leads to blindness in the affected eye.

Daniel Harris, store director at Specsavers in Hemel Hempstead, said: ‘Many people put off eye tests as they haven’t perceived any changes in their vision. But it’s important to remember eye tests can not only accurately monitor deterioration in your eyesight but, importantly, check their general well-being. We can detect indicators of everything from glaucoma to diabetes, and in Gordon’s case, a detaching retina.

‘We were pleased to hear Gordon has had a positive outcome, and would like to renew our call to Hemel Hempstead residents to put eye health on their agendas in 2016.’

Call to action 

Gordon added: ‘I acted just in time and, while I was very lucky, I have learned not to leave it to chance. It has reaffirmed for me the importance of having eye tests every two years and I want to share my story so that others are made aware of their importance too.’

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