After being diagnosed with retinal detachment in both eyes, a local store manager is thanking her colleague for saving her sight.

Role reversal

Victoria Owen is both store manager and dispensing optician at Specsavers Porthcawl and was at work when she began experiencing unusual spots in her vision.

Fortunately, as she was aware of the signs of common eye conditions, Victoria discussed her symptoms with optometrist, Megan Cosgrove, who carried out a thorough eye examination before calling the Royal Gwent Hospital to explain her findings.

‘It was a normal day at work, but I noticed I had a couple more floaters in my eyes than usual,’ Victoria says. ‘I’m short-sighted, so it’s common for me to experience some and initially I assumed they were caused by tiredness.

‘The moment Megan confirmed my symptoms could be a detached retina, I became the customer instead of a staff member. I’ve been a qualified dispensing optician for seven years, so I knew instantly what the diagnosis meant. I was terrified I would lose my sight.’

A serious condition

Retinal detachment refers to the retina – the thin layer at the back of the eye – becoming loose. Symptoms can include but are not limited to, reduced peripheral vision, flashes of light and tiny specks drifting through your vision, also referred to as ‘floaters’.

A detached retina is a serious eye condition that can lead to permanent sight loss if not treated quickly. Following Ms Cosgrove’s call to the hospital, Victoria was immediately referred for surgery, which is due to be performed this Friday during National Eye Health Week.

‘I am having surgery on my left eye first, and when that is healed they’ll look at the right eye,’ she says.

‘I feel lucky that I didn’t dismiss the symptoms. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have your eyes checked regularly, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.’

Claire Edwards, the store director at Specsavers Porthcawl, adds: ‘Victoria’s story is yet another example of how you can never be too careful with your eyesight. A detached retina doesn’t hurt but can seriously damage your sight and can even cause blindness. Cases like this are the reason we’re highlighting the importance of National Eye Health Week and the need for regular eye tests.

‘Victoria’s professional experience meant she knew to say something sooner rather than later. Things could have been very different had the condition been left untreated.’

The Porthcawl store is accredited by the Welsh Government’s Wales Eye Care Services programme to deliver primary eye care services on behalf of the NHS.

All Porthcawl store information