When local resident Clairssa Hall was having problems with her sight – she thought it was time for her to see the optician, little did she realise that her vision issues were the result of something potentially far more serious.

Sudden symptoms

Mrs Hall (76) had been experiencing problems with the sight in her left eye – a type of fogginess over her vision - so made an appointment at Specsavers in Kenilworth.  On the day she was seen by the store’s optometrist Amir Nassar, who carried out a full eye examination

‘As soon as Mrs Hall came in saying that for a short spell she couldn’t see anything in the left eye, I immediately suspected that this was a case of amaurosis fugax,’ commented Amir.

Amaurosis fugax is a short-lived episode of blindness in one eye. This symptom usually develops suddenly and is caused by a blockage, or low blood flow within the main blood vessel supplying the eye and can be the symptom of a stroke.

‘Thankfully I was able to act swiftly, knowing the seriousness of the situation and get Mrs Hall seen on the same day at Walsgrave Hospital eye casualty department,’ added Amir.  ‘Investigations proved that my initial diagnosis was correct and that Mrs Hall had suffered a minor stroke.’

Close monitoring

Mrs Hall is now receiving treatment for her condition and is being monitored by the hospital.

‘My experience has really highlighted just how important it is not to neglect any issues you are having with your vision,’ commented Mrs Hall.  ‘Had it not been for that visit to the optician I might not have been aware of my condition, or received the appropriate treatment, that really doesn’t bear thinking about.

‘I had no idea the optician could pick up so many different conditions, and I’ll certainly be encouraging other people to get their eyes checked regularly. I’m very grateful to Amir and his team, as well as the care of the Walsgrave Hospital staff.’

Eye tests are able to pick up a number of associated conditions such as with this case. Research published by Specsavers and charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), shows one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable if detected early enough through examinations such as an eye test. The statistics also show that 300 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day.

Regular checks

The optometrists at Specsavers Kenilworth have accreditations in glaucoma and minor eye conditions (MECs). It means the store can offer eye health services to help manage a number of eye conditions allowing more people to be treated in-store rather than having to go to their GP or hospital. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services.

Amir added: ‘Mrs Hall’s story illustrates the importance of regular eye examinations. Eye tests aren’t just important for your vision but also for your general health, as other problems can be detected including, high blood pressure, brain tumours and diabetes.

‘We use digital retinal photography (DRP) to take a photo of the back of the eyes, which is included as part of all our standard sight tests at no extra cost.  These images are particularly useful as we can monitor changes over time.

‘We’d urge everyone to make sure that they have their eyes tested every two years unless they’re experiencing any problems in which case they should visit their optician sooner.  Our store is open seven days a week, to help offer maximum convenience.’

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