When Balsall Common resident Bernard Hayes made an appointment at Specsavers in Kenilworth, he had no idea that this visit would help save his sight.

Unusual symptoms

Bernard had been experiencing what he described as floating debris in his eye, which although not irritable, prompted him to visit the store.

Bernard was seen by store director Ambreena Bhatti, who identified that the vitreous gel surrounding Bernard’s eye was coming apart, hence the ‘floaters’ he was seeing. Ambeena advised that this is not usually a concern, but that in some cases it can cause the retina to tear or detach itself from the eyeball, and advised Bernard of the symptoms to look out for. 

‘I was clearly told that if I saw the warning signs, a shadow appearing across my vision, and/or a series of bright flashes, then I should get back to Specsavers or to A&E immediately,’ commented Bernard. ‘The clarity in which the information was given stayed with me.’

Warning signs

Some weeks later, Bernard was aware of a shadow appearing across part of his vision. That night he experienced bright flashing lights in the same eye. The next morning he went straight to Specsavers where he was seen immediately by Ambreena. 

‘Ambreena handed me paperwork with her diagnosis and advised me in a calm but clear manner to go A & E straight away. I gauged from her tone that the situation was serious and that her advice should be followed, I went straight to A & E where I was informed that an operation had to take place the next day.’

The next morning at Warwick Hospital Machen eye clinic, Bernard was informed that his retina was badly torn and detached. He underwent protracted surgery that day, and thanks to the skilled team at the Machen eye Clinic at Warwick Hospital, the operation was successful.  

‘I’m so grateful to Specsavers and to Warwick Hospital Machen eye clinic,’ added Bernard.

‘Without the initial examination at Specsavers and the rapid and accurate diagnosis when those symptoms that I had been advised to look out for occurred, followed by the almost immediate operation at Warwick Hospital, the outcome would have been far from favourable. 

‘I cannot speak highly enough of both Specsavers and Warwick Hospitals' Machen Eye Clinic.

Raising awareness

‘I’d also like to make a plea to help raise awareness about the importance of visiting your optician regularly, especially if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms.

'While most people are aware of the symptoms of a heart attack, a stroke, stomach or bowel cancer because of Government and NHS healthcare initiatives, there is little awareness of retinal detachments, which if not treated promptly, can lead to loss of sight.

'If you are concerned about a sudden change, get examined immediately – you may not get a second chance! More than 100 people lose their sight every day in the UK, try not to be one of them.’

Ambreena added: ‘We’re glad that we were able to help Bernard – detached retinas can lead to blindness, but if spotted and acted on early enough, they are preventable. That’s why it’s so important that people don’t neglect their eye health. A visit to your opticians can pick up a range of conditions just by examining your eyes.  

‘We’d encourage everyone to see their optician at least every two years or pop in straight away if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, like Bernard’s.’

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