An eye examination turned out to be a sight-saving visit for a local mum of four.

After receiving a free sight test voucher for Specsavers in Redditch, the customer decided to make an appointment to see the optician.  

Far more serious

Although she wasn’t due for a routine examination, the customer in question had been suffering from headaches and some blurred vision and so wondered if the prescription in her specs needed changing.  The real reason behind these symptoms transpired to be something far more serious. 

Sajad Ali, optometrist at Specsavers, Redditch, carried out a full eye examination which included taking pictures of the back of her eyes using digital retinal photography (DRP). During the test, Sajad was concerned about the back of the right eye and referred her to the ophthalmology department at Kidderminster Hospital. 

After undergoing tests, the customer was then referred to the accident and emergency department at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch where they diagnosed that she had two fully blown eye discs.  A CT scan and additional tests confirmed that she was suffering from a condition known as IIH - idiopathic intracranial hypertension – a build-up of pressure around the brain.

‘It was a complete shock for this particular customer’, said Sajad. ‘She had no idea that her headaches and vision issues were due to an underlying condition which resulted in her undergoing a lumbar puncture to help alleviate the pressure.’

Importance of eye tests

‘Stories like these are quite rare – one in one hundred thousand people suffer from IIH – but what it does do is demonstrate 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 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 in cases such as these, helping to alert us to any issues, while also ensuring 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.’ 

'half of all cases being avoidable'

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. The statistics also show that 300 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day.

The optometrists at Specsavers Redditch have accreditations in 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.

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