RETIRED civil servant Martin O’Hare from Glenn, just outside Newry, has always looked after his eye health.
Since needing glasses for reading and close up work around 10 years ago he has been fastidious in maintaining his regular two yearly eye examinations at local opticians, Specsavers in Buttercrane Shopping Centre, Newry.
‘There is a history of glaucoma in our family and I’m always mindful that something could happen to my eyesight.’ However, he wasn’t prepared for what was to ensue.
In early October Martin noticed a blurring and a shadow in his left eye. He knew something was not quite right although was not immediately alarmed. However, he decided to make an appointment at Specsavers even though his next routine check wasn’t due for almost a year and got one booked for the next afternoon.
Optometrist Kerri Rafferty explains: ‘On completing an examination I detected a retinal tear at the back of Martin’s left eye which was leaking blood. His vision had reduced dramatically and it was important at this stage to get an emergency appointment at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s eye department to allow for fuller investigations.’
Kerri was able to secure a next day appointment at the RVH and following tests and an MRI scan the hospital concluded that although the retina was still intact the tear and bleeding at the back of the eye required urgent laser surgery.
Martin underwent laser surgery that same day and returned the next morning for a second session of laser treatment.
Since the treatment, Martin has been back for a final check up with consultant ophthalmologist, Mr Chan who is very happy with Martin’s progress and no further hospital check-ups are required.
‘It’s such a relief,” says Martin ‘Both Mr Chan and the laser surgeon Mr Reel said that if it hadn’t been for the prompt action of my optometrist Kerri, then I could have lost the sight in my left eye. My eyesight is almost back to where it was before and I’m delighted. I’ve four children and four grandchildren and it’s wonderful to be able to see and chat to everyone properly – though of course we’re abiding by government advice.
‘I’m really indebted to Kerri at Newry Specsavers for detecting the bleed and for organizing a hospital appointment so quickly. She was in constant contact with me to see how diagnosis and treatment was progressing in hospital and I can’t thank her enough. She really went above and beyond. I’d also like to thank the wonderful medical team at the Royal Victoria Hospital. It’s been such a busy time for them with the impact of the pandemic and it’s fantastic how they are also looking after normal emergency cases.
‘I would urge everyone to make sure they get their eyes tested regularly and if you suspect something is not right with your eyes, get it checked out with an optician – it may just save your sight.’