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Man who tore retina in hay fever sneezing fit thanks medics who helped restore eyesight

A man who tore part of his eyeball during a sneezing fit has thanked medics who helped restore his sight.

John Bennett, 63, woke up in the night sneezing because of his hay fever.

John Bennett has thanked the medics who treated him
John Bennett has thanked the medics who treated him

The following morning, he noticed his vision was blurred with dark spots and a "cobweb" effect.

He called his GP, who asked him to track down his medical records from his opticians.

But when Mr Bennett called his optician, they recommended seeing an eye specialist instead of a GP and arranged an immediate appointment. Within a few minutes of their examination, he was told his retina was torn and he needed urgent treatment.

Two hours later, Mr Bennett was at Kent and Canterbury Hospital’s ophthalmic department.

He said: “The team were fully protected with PPE and gave me a face mask. The doctor tried to laser the tear but it was right in the corner and despite best efforts, couldn’t seal the tear.

Mr Bennett was treated at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital
Mr Bennett was treated at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital

“There was an ophthalmic surgeon finishing his list and about to go home. The team spoke to him and he agreed to operate there and then.”

Mr Bennett was operated on that afternoon, and was on his way home to Bossingham, near Canterbury, by 6pm.

He said: “I have to wait a couple of weeks taking it easy until they can confirm 100% success, but what a service.

“From Jason Gillan at Specsavers Canterbury who recognised the problem, to Mr Schultz the surgeon who stayed on to sort me out, they were fantastic.

“There is no doubt in my mind without the speedy intervention I would be looking at a long-term problem with my eyesight.”

Consultant ophthalmic surgeon David Shultz says it is important to seek medical advice for vision problems or other worrying symptoms, even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “Symptoms such as flashing lights in the eye, sudden black spots or floaters, or any loss of vision can be indicators of serious eye conditions so it is always best to get advice.

“If treatment is sought quickly, we may be able to repair or reverse the damage and preserve a patient’s eyesight.

“Although opticians are closed for routine appointments because of the coronavirus outbreak, they are still able to help with urgent or emergency problems and can refer to our team if needed.”

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