Three Northampton women have thanked Specsavers Northampton for saving their sight after they were found to be suffering from the same sight-threatening condition when they visited the store for an eye test.


Shadow in sight

Susan Eyre, 72, made an appointment at Specsavers on Abington Street, Northampton, after noticing a shadow in the vision in her right eye; ‘I’d been working in the garden all morning and then went inside for a bath. Suddenly, my eye just didn’t feel right and that’s when I could see a strange shadow. I have cataracts in my right eye so I assumed it was something to do with that but thought I should get it checked out anyway.


Jude Edwards, optometrist store director, says; ‘We examined Susan’s eye thoroughly including the use of a digital retinal camera and it was very clear to see that she was suffering from a retinal detachment. We referred her to the hospital straight away as if left untreated it can be very serious and would’ve led to Susan losing her sight in her eye completely.’


‘I had surgery the very next day,’ says Susan. ‘However, the doctor warned that sometimes patients may need to have the surgery two or three times before it’s successful and unfortunately that’s what happened to me. I had the surgery to re-attach my retina a second time and so far, I’m recovering well. There is an oil bubble inserted behind my eye that will help the retina to heal, this will be removed soon and hopefully I’ll fully regain my vision.’


A sight-saving trip to Specsavers

Grazyna Tomaszczk, 60, had a similar experience. ‘I’d been able to see some floaters in my eye for about a month but hadn’t thought much about it. I had an eye examination and when I went to pick up my new glasses I mentioned my eye just didn’t feel right, nothing looked out of the ordinary, so Jude told me to keep in touch in case things changed.


A few days later I felt a ‘click’ and a sudden change in my vision one evening, so contacted Jude the following morning and he asked me to see him immediately. That sudden change I experienced turned out to be my retina detaching, so Jude referred me immediately to the hospital for an emergency appointment and just a few days later I had an operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I’m grateful that everyone acted so quickly but at the moment I only have 15-20% vision in my eye so I am hopeful that this will improve over time as my eye recovers.’


Thankful to Specsavers

Judith Osborne, 58, was surprised to learn that being very short-sighted meant she was at higher risk of developing a retinal detachment, she says: ‘I was due for a routine eye test at the store anyway but decided to bring it forward after noticing that floaters in my eye had got bigger and moved across my vision followed by a shadow. The optometrist at Specsavers, Kam Dulay, could see I had a retinal detachment and made an emergency appointment at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. At 6pm that same day I was having sight-saving surgery.


‘According to the surgeon, I was very lucky. If it had been left just a few hours more, it’s likely I’d have lost my sight completely. When I’ve told people that I had a detached retina, they assume I must’ve hit my head as many people think that’s how they occur, but I’ve learnt that’s not the case. I had no idea that the condition is just one those things that can happen but if you’ve very short-sighted like I am, you’re actually at higher risk. I’m so very grateful to Kam and the Specsavers team, and those at the hospital, as their prompt action saved my sight.’


A word from the store director

Mukesh Patel, Specsavers Northampton co-director, concludes:The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. It’s responsible for receiving light and translating it into electrical signals to send to the brain, where it creates the images we see. A retinal detachment is a serious condition and it’s quite unusual to have seen so many customers with the same issue in such a short space of time but it really highlights why it’s so important to get your eyes checked as soon as you notice any changes in your vision.’


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