East Kilbride Womans Sight Is Saved By Local Optician

Monday, 07 June 2010

A LOCAL East Kilbride woman is full of praise for the Specsavers optometrist whose speedy actions helped prevent permanent blindness in her eye.


The quick thinking of Katrina Forbes, an optometrist at East Kilbride store, led to the early detection of an aneurysm in 68-year-old Anne Bell's right eye.


The swollen blood vessel behind the eye was spotted by Katrina before it had the chance to burst and cause permanent blindness.  


Despite the optometrist's speedy actions Anna, of St Leonard's, still lost almost all the sight in her right eye for nearly two years, but  early diagnosis at Specsavers helped prevent lasting damage and aided the eventual  return of her sight just one month ago.


Says Anna: 'Katrina spotted the aneurysm in the nick of time.  The past two years haven't been easy but now my sight has finally returned I feel like the happiest person. These days I visit Katrina at Specsavers for an eye examination and can read down to the third bottom row of letters with what used to be my blind eye.'


Anna continues: 'It all started two years ago when I was walking through East Kilbride town centre with my husband, John. Suddenly I noticed a black spot around the circumference of my right eye. I was a bit alarmed that this problem had just suddenly appeared and went directly to Specsavers.


'I didn't have an appointment but they could see how concerned I was and Katrina saw me straight away.  She carefully examined my eye and took a series of photographs.


'Katrina could tell something was seriously amiss and suspecting an aneurysm she asked my husband to drive me straight to Hairmyres Hospital. When I arrived Specsavers had called ahead so the specialist knew to expect me.


'At hospital they told me I had what's called a fibrosing retinal macro aneurysm.  The swollen blood vessel was directly behind my eye and as it started to leak my sight was increasingly obscured. I went through intensive laser treatment but finally a consultant held my hand and told me she was so sorry but I was going to lose my sight in one eye.


'It was very hard news to take but I have always tried to remain positive. I said to my husband, John, 'You have two good eyes, I've got one. Three good eyes between us isn't too bad!'


But just one month ago, thanks to Katrina's early diagnosis, Anna's sight started to return: 'It started with being able to see light right at the top of my eye. My vision kept on increasing and now I have 85% vision in my eye. It's amazing.


'I dread to think what might have happened if I hadn't gone to Specsavers straight away. There was no pain, my blood pressure was healthy, my cholesterol levels and blood pressure were fine. I had no history of diabetes.


'There was absolutely nothing to suggest that I might be susceptible to an aneurysm. I would tell anyone to have their eyes checked regularly. Your eyesight is so precious. I was just so lucky that thanks to Katrina's quick thinking, my eyesight finally returned.'



Shirley-Ann Kennedy, Director of East Kilbride Specsavers explains the condition: 'Behind the eye both vein and artery pass through a sheath that flexes. Sometimes due to high blood

pressure (hypertension) the artery can swell inside the sheath. The resulting pressure on the vein can lead to a "bulge" in the vein. If this aneurysm bursts sight becomes blurred. In some cases the condition clears. In some sight is permanently damaged and laser treatment is needed.


'We're glad that Anna came in for treatment when she did to prevent any further damage to her eye and we're absolutely delighted that she is now making a speedy recovery.'



Specsavers notes to editors                                                                     

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,500 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.4 billion in 2009/10
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eighth year running by Reader's Digest in 2009
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers * - 9,700,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2009
  • Over 70% (4.5m) of all Specsavers eye tests in the UK are NHS-funded.
  • Specsavers share by volume of the total optical market (including retailers that are not opticians) is 34%. Our share of the opticians market is 39%.*
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and offers a hearing service from more than 400 locations
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. During its three-year support for Diabetes UK it raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
  • Since 2003 more than a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas, for use in developing countries. Specsavers stores across Britain raised more than £300,000 in 2009 to fund a dedicated eyecare clinic and teaching facility in Zambia, supported by Vision Aid Overseas. Stores will raise an additional £300,000 to continue the project.

*GfK NOP (Sept 2009)