Routine eye test led to sight-saving surgery for Bourne man

Terry Whitehead who had a detached retina which was picked up at SpecSavers in Bourne
Terry Whitehead who had a detached retina which was picked up at SpecSavers in Bourne

A man has thanked the optician who spotted a potentially sight-threatening condition during a routine eye test.

Terry Whitehead, 58, of The Pollards, Bourne, decided to take a test at Specsavers in Bourne as he wanted new frames.

Terry, who designs training programmes for banks, was not due a test but wanted to take advantage of a £10 offer.

During his assessment he was asked by optometrist Ajmal Hussain whether there was anything different about his sight. Terry mentioned seeing “floaters”, or little specks in his vision.

Mr Hussain decided to carry out more tests and then referred Terry to a specialist at Peterborough City Hospital for further tests. The specialist confirmed Mr Hussain’s suspicions and booked Terry in for urgent surgery to repair a detached retina - a problem that if left untreated could have cost him the sight in that eye.

Terry is now recovering at home, having regained most of his vision. But he knows he had a lucky break.

“They explained that it was a detached retina,” he said. “They said the worst case scenario was losing all sight from that eye.

“But they were reassuring in that it seemed to be quite early on.

“The days before the surgery were quite harrowing, thinking I could lose my sight. But I’m very fortunate it hasn’t been that way.”

Terry is full of praise for those who treated him and particularly his optometrist. He wants to encourage everyone to get their eyes tested regularly.

He said: “If anything changes, don’t just put up with it. Don’t wait for your next appointment; get it checked straight away.

“I was just lucky.”

Mr Hussain, who works at the practice in Bourne two days a week, said: “I feel it’s vitally important for everyone to get a test done at least every two years.

“It’s not that you might need glasses but it’s more to check the health of the eyes. You may not have visible symptoms.

“Terry came in with normal symptoms and throughout the test I was advising him. He didn’t know what he was experiencing could be sight-threatening.

“In this case he needed to be referred urgently. It can be alarming but it was needed to save the eye.

“He could have lost the sight in that eye if we didn’t act quickly.”