Lhanbryde woman ‘owes life’ to alert Elgin optician

Elgin Optician spotted serious condition during eye test
Elgin Optician spotted serious condition during eye test

A MORAY GRANDMOTHER has said she owes her life to an optician who noted a potentially fatal eye condition during a visit to Specsavers in Elgin.

Lhanbryde woman Sanda Wilson, 60, had already visited her GP for a route check at which she had made a further appointment to investigate painful headaches and blurred vision.

Unable to obtain an appointment for at least a week, her uneasy husband Brian took her to visit the optician at the Elgin branch of Specsavers – and it was there that a test undertaken by optometrist Sinead Connolly discovered the signs of a life-threatening neurological condition.

Sinead said: “When Sandra came in for her examination it was clear she was in a great deal of discomfort.  I recognised that this could possibly be a serious neurological condition and immediate action needed to be taken, so I referred Sandra to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for further tests.”

Husband Brian drove his wife immediately to Aberdeen where she was diagnosed with an aneurysm – and referred immediately to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for specialist treatment that is available only in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

They decided the aneurysm was about to burst and operated immediately, subjecting Sandra to a highly specialised treatment known as coiling to prevent that from happening. It is a treatment not unfamiliar to the Wilson family as Sandra’s husband had himself suffered stroke as a result of a burst aneurysm several years earlier.

Full recovery

Recovering after her ordeal Sandra said: “I am so grateful to Sinead for identifying the cause of my discomfort and acting so quickly – if it was not for her I would not be here today to tell my story.

“I have glaucoma and as a result I visit the Elgin Specsavers store for regular checks, and after what they’ve done for me I’m certainly an even more loyal customer.

“It was a very eventful 60th birthday for me – a trip to the GP and then the discovery of such a serious condition by my optician – but it turned out to be my lucky day as the outcome could have been devastating if it wasn’t for that eye test.”

The director of Elgin’s Specsavers store, Peter Taylor, said: “Sandra’s case was handled promptly and professionally, I am proud of our team at Elgin for providing such excellent customer service.

“Brian was absolutely right to encourage his wife to come into store for an eye check and we wish Sandra all the best in her recovery.  Her diagnosis highlights just how important regular eye examinations can be – we typically recommend getting your eyes checked every two years from age four.

“With National Eye Health Week taking place this week, it is the perfect time to take stock and ensure you are taking good care of your eye health.

“Eye exams should be an important part of everyone’s overall health routine, no matter their age. Some people wait until they experience symptoms to see an optometrist but shouldn’t because many eye problems and other underlying health conditions can be silent – meaning they have no symptoms.”