Published: 06:00, 23 June 2021
A mother is urging others to get their eyes checked after opticians spotted a life-threatening condition during a test.
Koranee Upward, from Minster on Sheppey, visited Specsavers in Sheerness High Street after experiencing intense migraines for five days and a line across her vision.
During examination ophthalmic director Sharnpal Singh Bains spotted both optic nerves were swollen with suggested blood leakage behind one eye.
Sharnpal contacted the local on-call NHS ophthalmologist at Maidstone Hospital, who advised that Mrs Upward go to A&E immediately.
While there, she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and ended up having life-saving surgery at London’s King’s College Hospital.
Speaking about the ordeal, Koranee, 51, said: “I had been experiencing worrying symptoms, but I had no idea how unwell I was.
“It was a really frightening time for me and my family, and I’m really grateful to Sharnpal and Specsavers for spotting that something was seriously wrong and helping me get seen quickly.”
The mother-of-two added: “I’m very lucky to have recovered well and would urge others to get their eyes checked even if they are not experiencing any symptoms, but especially if they think something may be wrong.”
Sharnpal said: “It is important to stress that conditions like Koranee’s are rare, but can be picked up for the first time at an eye test because of the in-depth look we are able to take at the back of the eye.
“We know a lot of people have missed their eye tests over the course of the pandemic and we would urge anyone who hasn’t had a test for a while to come in and see us as soon as they can to make sure their eyes and general health are good.”
Findings released by Specsavers indicate that, in a usual year when they would expect to carry out 8.6 million eye examinations, more than 600,000 people would be referred to hospital or their GP for further investigations for sight issues, as well as abnormalities that could indicate a serious health condition.
However, during the height of the pandemic – March to September 2020– it is estimated two million customers missed an eye test and almost 130,000 fewer people were referred, meaning many may have a serious conditions that they are unaware of.