VICTORIA Sutherland knows better than most the importance of getting your checked.
The Kenilworth resident is encouraging everyone to have regular eye examinations, regardless of whether they have problems with their vision, after a potentially sight-threatening condition was picked up at an opticians in the town.
The 27-year-old has told her story as part of National Eye Health Week (September 23 to 29),
Victoria visited Specsavers in 2012 after she began to notice problems with her right eye. Along with affected vision and chronic migraines, she noticed her eye was starting to look more pronounced and seemed to be further forward from its socket.
Optometrist Ambreena Bhatti immediately referred her to hospital after noticing swelling around her optic nerve.
Following CT and MRI scans, she was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension, the medical term for increased pressure around the brain. A lumbar puncture was performed to relieve the pressure and drain excess fluid from the spine.
Victoria said: “I’m really grateful to Ambreena. I was suffering from chronic migraines, but thought it may be down to a problem with my vision. I half expected that I would just need glasses, but the optometrist was really thorough and explained that I had swelling around my optic nerve, which could be a sign of something more serious.
“She referred me immediately to hospital to undergo further investigation and I was treated for pressure around the brain due to excess cerebrospinal fluid.
“I’ve been able to keep the most severe symptoms at bay over the last few years by taking medication and managing the condition as best possible through my diet.
“I still visit Specsavers regularly, as they can use cameras to check the back of your eye and optic nerves. In fact, when my symptoms started to come back a few months ago, the store was my first point of call. They noticed that the swelling around my optic nerve had returned and referred me to hospital again, where doctors performed another lumbar puncture.
“I really can’t stress enough the importance of regular eye examinations. They can tell so much about your overall health, not just sight.”
Ambreena said it was vital people did not ignore health of their eyes.
“An eye test isn’t just about seeing if you need glasses or checking a prescription, it’s an important part of checking the health of your eyes and can play a major role in detecting both minor and major health conditions. We recommend adults have their eyes tested every two years, or every year for children, but if you experience any changes it’s best to make an appointment and get your eyes checked.”
Research by Specsavers and charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), shows one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable.