A patient from Adlam & Coomber Optometrists has paid tribute to the fast-acting optometrist who saved his sight, after he experienced a detached retina.
Alan Woodward, a 64-year-old grandfather of four, contacted us after he discovered black spots floating across his vision, just four days before Christmas Day.
Little did he know, that decision helped to save his sight, as specialists said he could have gone blind if he did not act on his symptoms when he did.
Alan, a retired quarry worker, said: “The black dots across my vision started appearing when I was in a passenger seat of a car. I rubbed my eyes as I thought there might be some dust or something in there but, when they didn’t go away, I realised something wasn’t right.”
After conducting a google search which told him to get it checked, Alan emailed Adlam & Coomber, who he has visited since he was seven years old, at 9pm to tell us he was concerned about his vision.
“Even though it was after hours in the evening, within an hour they had responded, asking if I could come in for an emergency appointment at the first opportunity, which was first thing the next morning. You can’t get better service than that,” Alan continued.
Optometrist Charlotte Wilson saw Alan at the practice and, through a series of tests, found that he had experienced a retinal detachment.
As this warranted emergency treatment, Charlotte immediately arranged a referral to hospital where specialists confirmed her diagnosis and, just over a day after his trip to the opticians, Alan had an operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.
The treatment came just in time for Alan, who woke up that morning without any vision in his right eye, and admits he was worried he wouldn’t be able to pursue his hobbies as a result.
Alan said: “From being fine the day before with just the black dots, overnight my vision went completely.
“It was like a big black cloud slowly going across my vision, which was really quite scary.
“In my spare time I keep bees and I was worried that I might have to get rid of them because of it, so I’m just so grateful that Charlotte saw me as quickly as she did.”
Although Alan’s sight is now improving following weeks of recuperation, he’s well aware it could have been much worse.
He added: “The doctors said that if I had left it for any amount of time I probably would not have regained the sight in my eye. Charlotte said the same, that it’s the sort of thing you need to catch quickly.
“I can see why some people would not get it checked as it’s just a few spots across your vision, but the repair is a lot harder and sometimes not as successful if it’s left too long so it’s so important you act on it.”
Charlotte has stayed in contact with Alan to check on his progress as he sight continues to improve.
Alan said: “She rang me recently to ask how I’ve been getting on, so it gave me a chance to tell her how thankful I was for getting me seen so quickly.
“When she explained I had a retinal detachment I was really impressed as she didn’t try to scare me or anything and she was very professional in how she worded it. I wouldn’t use anybody else.
“Your eyesight is something I think we can all take for granted so, if you see something like I did, you need to get checked out; it's as simple as that.”
Optometrist Charlotte Wilson said: “With all retinal detachment cases, the key thing is getting it sorted quickly to avoid any permanent problems.
“Alan did exactly the right thing to contact us when he did, and I think it’s really important to remind everyone that, even with the situation as it is, it’s still so important to get your eyes checked at the first sign of any change.
“Something seemingly innocuous could be the sign of something serious, as in Alan’s case. That’s why it’s vital that opticians remain open for those who need access to eyecare; an eye exam is not just a check-up on your eyes, it can also give an outlook on your overall health as well.
“If you are concerned about booking appointment, rest assured we have procedures in place to guarantee a safe environment, including full PPE, social distancing and strict sanitation and hygiene measures.”