Tuesday 17 January 2017

How an eye test could save your life

Published 01/11/2010 | 08:43

mature doctor checking a patient's vision
mature doctor checking a patient's vision

FAR beyond just having your eyesight tested and buying a new pair of specs, a visit to the opticians can also prove a lifesaving experience. A case in point was Siobhan Beahan, who, thanks to a visit to Specsavers in Newbridge, is grateful to be alive.

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Siobhan, a 32-year-old local mum of three from Sallins, Co. Kildare, had been experiencing severe headaches for some time. Despite being prescribed medication by her doctor the headaches continued and she began to think that she may have to live with it.

Having worn glasses for many years, Siobhan visited her local Specsavers store in Edward Street, Moorefield Road, following a reminder eye test letter.

Aengus Morrin, store director of Specsavers in Newbridge, undertook the eye examination. An abnormality was detected and recorded using the store’s latest state-of-the-art fundus camera, which is used for digital retinal photography.

This new equipment is a specialised biomicroscope with an attached digital camera, which captures images of the retina. It enhances the testing process to provide a larger, clearer image of the retina, for analysis. The image helps to detect sight-related illnesses, such as glaucoma and diabetes.

Upon closer examination of Siobhan’s eyes, Aengus became concerned about swelling of the nerves at the back of the eyes: ‘When I noticed raised nerve heads at the back of the eyes, coupled with the on-going headaches that she was experiencing, I became concerned that there could be a serious underlying health condition. Time is always of the essence when detecting abnormalities so I immediately referred the patient.’

On arrival at the hospital, Siobhan underwent a MRI scan which revealed a life-threatening brain tumour, confirming Aengus’ initial concerns. The severity of the tumour was so unpredictable that doctors at Beaumont advised her not to leave the hospital and that an operation was required straightaway.

Alarmed by the discovery, Siobhan reflects: ‘I was utterly shocked that the on-going headaches that I had been experiencing were a symptom of such a life-threatening illness. I owe my life to the swift, professional action of the team at Specsavers in Newbridge.

‘I was immediately admitted to Beaumont Hospital on arrival and was discharged three weeks to the day after my initial eye test at Specsavers. The operation to remove the tumour was completely successful and, thankfully, I’m now fully-recovered and appreciating each and every day with my family and friends.’

Remember, an eye examination can not only save your vision – it can also save your life.

Digital retinal photography is available as part of Specsavers eye examinations, at no additional cost. See www.specsavers.ie for more information



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