A local business owner from Sutton Weaver has had his sight-saving story captured on a national TV advert for Specsavers.
Richard Bamber, 49, was diagnosed with a detached retina at Specsavers in Runcorn during the Covid-19 lockdown period and was urgently referred to St Paul’s Eye Unit at Liverpool Royal Hospital for immediate surgery to save his sight.
The father-of-three had struggled with irritated, itchy eyes and blurry vision for weeks, and tried drops to treat this to no avail. Eventually he booked in to see optometrist director Stuart Jones at Specsavers in Shopping City, as the instore team are classed as key workers and able to provide urgent and essential eye care during lockdown.
Thanks to the eye test, Mr Bamber is now recovering from surgery and seeing his sight return. However, his story captured the attention of Specsavers’ in-house creative agency and is now being featured in a new 90-second TV ad, We Were There, which aired for the first time on ITV1 on Saturday 13 June. It tells the story of instore colleagues and customers during lockdown and Mr Bamber can be seen in hospital recovering post-surgery.
Mr Bamber, who runs local coach travel firm Anthony’s Travel, was surprised to be asked to feature on the advert.
‘When asked by Specsavers if my story could be shared nationally, at first I was a bit surprised, but I have come to realise that your eyesight is very precious and without Specsavers the likelihood is I would have lost my vision,’ he says.
‘Therefore, if following the campaign enlightens people regarding the importance of regular eye checks or the symptoms of various eye conditions it was worth having my ugly mug on the TV. I just don’t think it’s my new vocation and will stick to operating coaches.‘
Specsavers' teams across the UK have been helping people like Mr Bamber who needed urgent care during the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes supporting other key workers who couldn’t function without their help and people who would come to harm without their health expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.
A word from Chris
Chris Graham, store partner at Specsavers in Runcorn, says: ‘I’m really proud of the work that my team has carried out over the last few months during these unprecedented times, and it’s really fulfilling to know that our expertise and quick thinking saved Mr Bamber’s sight.
‘The advert tells the stories of people like him, who’ve needed our help during lockdown, and the lengths that our key workers have gone to in helping out local people, communities and charities in these difficult times.’
While stores remain open for essential and urgent care only, customers with any concerns who wish to avoid a store visit, can use other services to access support and advise. Specsavers launched a new RemoteCare service during lockdown which offers video consultations. Visit the Specsavers website or phone the store for advice and to be assessed on the level of care you might need. Glasses and contact lenses can also be purchased online for customers with a current prescription.
Customers can now also book appointments for hearing services in the community. In line with new guidelines, Specsavers audiologists have reintroduced key, lifeline audiology services to the general public, including hearing tests, hearing aid fittings and earwax removal. Customers will need to request an appointment online or call their local store first for advice and to be assessed on the level of care that they might need.
Specsavers has set up an Ask the Expert group on Facebook for people to ask the team of expert optometrists and audiologists questions they might have about their sight or hearing while stores are open for urgent and essential appointments only. The group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpecsaversAskTheExpert/?fref=nf
Contact the Runcorn store on 01928 716 200 or visit www.specsavers.co.uk/runcorn