Shropshire Star

Bridgnorth woman glad she went to Specsavers after £10 eye test 'saves her sight'

A Bridgnorth woman has thanked her local opticians for 'saving her sight' after a £10 test revealed the early stages of a serious eye disease.

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When Rachel Bytheway went for a routine eye check at her High Street opticians, she was asked if she wanted to pay for an optional Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan.

Although she had noticed a recent decline in her vision, the 64-year-old thought it was just because she was getting older, but the OCT scan carried out by optometrist Teresa Hughes, which allows for more detailed examination of the back of the eyes, revealed her optic nerve looked slightly thinner than it should be, arousing suspicions of early-stage glaucoma.

After referring Rachel to the Telford community eye clinic, further tests by an ophthalmologist revealed problems with pressure in her eye and confirmed the diagnosis of glaucoma.

Rachel is now taking drops to manage it.

Ahead of Glaucoma Awareness Week, from June 24 – 30, Rachel wanted to draw attention to the importance of early detection by ensuring people have regular eye checks at their opticians.

Glaucoma usually occurs when naturally occurring fluid inside the eye does not drain properly, leading to a build-up of pressure. This can then cause damage to the optic nerve and nerve fibres from the retina, in most cases without any symptoms. While the condition cannot be reversed, it can be managed – but early detection is key.

Rachel said: “I needed new specs and to go for my two-yearly check-up. I had also recently noticed a decline in my eyesight as when I was watching television, things seemed blurred around the edges.

“The optometrist took quite a long time looking at my images after the scan, explaining she could see something that shouldn’t be happening and that she was referring me to the specialist eye clinic.

“After carrying out further tests, the ophthalmologist told me I had glaucoma in the right eye and early-stage glaucoma in my left as well. I was a bit shocked because there’s no history of it in my family, but I guess it’s got to start somewhere.

“I was already wearing specs for close-up work and reading, but now I wear varifocals as my distance vision has also deteriorated a bit. I also have to put drops in for the rest of my life to keep the pressure in the eye at a lower level and manage the glaucoma.”

Rachel expressed her gratitude to Specsavers Bridgnorth for detecting the glaucoma and taking action to save her sight.

She added: “I would encourage everyone to get their eyes checked regularly, including an OCT, so any potential problems can be dealt with as early as possible, which is the key to preventing long-term vision problems.”

For more information or to book an eye or hearing test go to specsavers.co.uk/store/bridgnorth.