Alfie Glanville's first trip to the opticians proved to be a life-changing event.
The six-year-old John Bamford Primary School pupil had always struggled to concentrate and found reading quite difficult, but with no apparent vision problems his mum, Rebecca, did not think anything was wrong.
After a summer holiday Alfie complained of headaches, and so to be on the safe side, his mum booked him in for his first eye exam at her local opticians, Specsavers in Rugeley.
‘I thought the headaches could just be from the sun on our holiday,’ says Rebecca. ‘So when the optometrist, Minal Naik, said she’d picked up that Alfie had inflammation on the back of his eyes, by using a special digital camera, I was really shocked.’
High pressure inside skull diagnosed
Minal referred Alfie straight to the Wolverhampton New Cross Hospital where the ophthalmologist confirmed the inflammation and arranged for an MRI and CT scan. Alfie was later diagnosed with benign intracranial hypertension (high pressure inside the skull) and as a result had to undergo a lumba puncture to remove the excess fluid. Alfie is now on medication and continues to have regular checkups at the hospital – but the pressure behind his eyes has returned to normal. He has also now been prescribed with a pair of specs.
From struggling to read to beign a book worm
‘The change in Alfie is quite something,’ continues Rebecca. ‘From a boy that used to struggle to sit and read – he’s now become a real book worm and is coming on leaps and bounds at school.
The pressure in his eyes had probably been causing him headaches for some time, making it hard to concentrate, but as he knew no different he hadn’t really complained. It really does show how important it is for you to get your children’s eyes tested and I’m now encouraging all my friends and family to make sure they see their optician.
Alfie’s case really demonstrates how important regular eye examinations are – both in terms of vision but also general health,’ comments Minal.
We suggest that children first get their eyes tested at the age of three, and then every two years after that. Undetected vision problems affect a child’s learning and, if it is not in perfect condition, can often be mistaken for learning difficulties in young children.
Around 80% of everything a child learns is through their vision, so even a minor problem with a child’s sight can mean they suffer huge setbacks in their development at school. The earlier many common childhood vision problems are discovered the better the chance of correcting them.
Plus of course, although rare, eye examinations do pick up other health related issues like Alfie’s.’