Local man Martin O’Hare from Glenn is stressing the importance of regular eye tests following a retinal tear being picked up during a eye test by Newry store optometrist Kerri Rafferty.

Martin, a retired civil servant, noticed a blurring and a shadow in his left eye in early October. He decided to book an urgent appointment even though his next routine check wasn’t due for almost a year.

Retinal tear leaked blood

Kerri says: ‘On completing an examination I detected a retinal tear at the back of Martin’s left eye which was leaking blood. His vision had reduced dramatically and it was important at this stage to get an emergency appointment at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s eye department to allow for fuller investigations.’

Successful laser surgery

After tests and an MRI scan, the hospital concluded that although the retina was still intact, the tear and bleeding at the back of the eye required urgent laser surgery.

Martin underwent laser surgery that same day and returned the next morning for a second session. Following a final check-up Martin has been told no further hospital reviews are required.

Martin pays tribute to Kerri

‘It’s such a relief,’ says Martin ‘Both Mr Chan and the laser surgeon Mr Reel said that if it hadn’t been for the prompt action of my optometrist Kerri, then I could have lost the sight in my left eye. My eyesight is almost back to where it was before and I’m delighted. I’ve got four children and four grandchildren and it’s wonderful to be able to see and chat to everyone properly.

‘I’m really indebted to Kerri for detecting the bleed and for organising a hospital appointment so quickly. She was in constant contact with me to see how diagnosis and treatment was progressing in hospital and I can’t thank her enough. She really went above and beyond. I’d also like to thank the wonderful medical team at the Royal Victoria Hospital. It’s been such a busy time for them with the impact of the pandemic and it’s fantastic how they are also looking after normal emergency cases.

Get an eye test

‘I would urge everyone to make sure they get their eyes tested regularly and if you suspect something is not right with your eyes, get it checked out with an optician – it may just save your sight.’

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