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Life-Saving Photograph

Friday, 20 January 2012

DIGITAL retinal photography is becoming an increasingly valued part of an eye examination and Specsavers remains the only opticians to offer it at no additional cost as part of a sight test.

The advanced procedure uses a camera to take a picture of the back of the eye - the only part of the human body where the microcirculation of the blood can be directly observed.

Each photograph is kept as a permanent record and used to detect and manage a variety of conditions, including diabetic change, macular degeneration and optic nerve disease, as well as life-threatening conditions such as tumours.  

A screening recently saved the life of 17-year-old Chloe Jones from Merthyr Tydfil, who visited her optician after suffering dizzy spells. The digital photograph taken at the Specsavers store revealed a swelling of the optic nerve head at the back of her eye.

Optometrist Brian Borland immediately referred Miss Jones to hospital, where doctors discovered a brain tumour the size of an orange. Following a course of steroids to reduce the tumour and an operation to remove it, Miss Jones is now expected to make a full recovery.

Miss Jones, says: 'I would never have known how serious my symptoms were had I not gone in for an eye examination. The photographs taken at Specsavers literally saved my life. More people should know about the benefits of the camera and how it should form part of your regular eye test.'

Paul Carroll, director of professional services for Specsavers, says: 'Digital retinal screening can play a vital role in the early diagnosis and management of many conditions, which can lead to blindness if not detected at an early stage. Some, such as Chloe's, can even be life-threatening. The images also help the customer to gain a better understanding of what is happening.'

Many high street opticians require payment for digital retinal screening, on top of the cost of an eye examination. At Specsavers it is offered as part of the standard test and at no additional cost for customers aged over 40, or where a GP or optician recommends it.

To book an eye examination or to find your nearest Specsavers, please call 0800 068 0241 or log onto http://www.specsavers.co.uk/.

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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 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group was £1.36 billion for 2009/10 and is forecast to reach £1.55 billion in 2010/11.
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the tenth year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2011
  • 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
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK *
  • 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 various projects
  • 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 has raised over £370,000 for the charity since 2006, with almost £245,000 going towards its work in Zambia.