Portadown man Robin Davey is crediting his optician for saving his sight.
Robin had always had excellent vision - when he last had his eyes tested ten years ago.
Over the last five years, however, he found reading small print a problem and had to wear glasses.
In late January Robin noticed that his eyesight was getting much worse and called Specsavers in Portadown to book an appointment.
What Robin thought was a check-up for stronger lenses for his glasses turned into an eye appointment that saved his sight.
Specsavers optician Lauren Fitzsimmons explained: “During Mr Davey’s eye test it became obvious that his right eye had very poor vision. As soon as I saw his pressure results I knew that his case was very serious.”
Robin was then given a referral and was advised to go to the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) Belfast’s Emergency Eye Clinic where he saw a specialist.”
The fluid pressure in Robin’s right eye was at an abnormally high level.
Robin stated: “The specialist said I was in imminent danger of going blind in my right eye and the doctor stressed that I would require laser eye surgery immediately.”
The specialist told Robin that he had glaucoma; he had heard of glaucoma but never knew the seriousness of the condition, which affects the eye nerves that connect to the brain and can lead to sight loss.
With the use of laser eye treatment blocked channels which normally drain excess fluid from inside the eye were opened. Following treatment his right eye has had better vision than it has had for a year, and Robin will have to have further check-ups with his optician.
Mr Davey said: “I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Lauren, her colleagues at Specsavers, and the dedicated staff at the Eye Department of the Royal Victoria Hospital.
“Without their skill and prompt actions, I would now have lost vision in my right eye and be living evidence of the effects of Glaucoma.
“My advice to anyone would be to book regular appointments with your optician and if you have any concerns or unusual symptoms get them checked out straight away. It really could save your sight.”
To mark National Glaucoma Week (11 – 17 March) Specsavers are raising awareness of the seriousness of glaucoma by urging people to get their eyes tested; particularly if there is a family history of the condition. Symptoms can range from blurred vision to severe eye and head pain, however, some symptoms can be hidden as in Mr Davey’s case.
Michael Kennedy, Ophthalmic Director of Specsavers Portadown and Craigavon added: “Glaucoma can only be detected through a full eye test. It develops gradually, and the sufferer is often unaware of any problem until it is quite severe.
“Other serious health issues can be detected through eye tests including diabetes, brain and eye tumours, cataract, age related macular degeneration and retinal detachment therefore Specsavers encourage everyone, to book in for regular appointments at least every two years.”
Specsavers Portadown and Craigavon are offering free eye tests to all customers (including private and NHS customers) until the end of March. Specsavers also offers free digital retinal photography - a special digital retinal camera which plays an important role in the early diagnosis and prevention of many eye conditions, by photographing the back of the eye.
To book an appointment at a local Specsavers store visit www.specsavers.co.uk/stores or call Specsavers Portadown on 028 3835 0400 or Specsavers Craigavon on 028 3834 5688.